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Ask The Expert

Remodeler Edition with Bryan Sebring

Q: My husband and I are considering having our outdated kitchen remodeled.  After talking with some friends, who have had some bad experiences with contractors, we are kind of anxious when it comes to picking out a reputable company.  What can we do to increase the likelihood of finding a contractor that we trust and will do a great job?  

A: I totally understand where you are coming from.  A lot can happen while strangers are in your home and you put a lot of trust into the remodeler you choose to hire. I have gotten this question quite a bit, so I have come up with an easy way to remember what to look for and questions to ask to help you find the right fit when it comes to hiring your contractor.  Look to the five p's: 

People: Ask lots of questions and trust your gut. How easy is it to talk with them? Do they answer your questions with confidence?  What’s their communication like? Are they patient with all your questions or do they seem to get impatient with your questions? The answers to the question above will help you to see if the contractor is a potential good fit for you and your project. 

Process: When you hire a contractor that is organized and has a system in place, it can save you a considerable amount of time and money. Do they have a system or process in place for projects like yours? Will they help with ideas and design?  Who will be responsible for any permits that are required? What is the dispute resolution process if a conflict does arise?

Portfolio: One of the most ideal ways to evaluate and find the right contractor for your project is to take a look at some of their past work. It can also give you more peace of mind if they have taken on projects that are similar to yours. The quantity of completed projects in their portfolio will reflect their level of experience, while also being sure to focus on the quality of past projects is important too.

Past Clients: I would suggest beginning your research online. Dig deep and look for any bad reviews or negative feedback.  If there ARE negative reviews, take a look at how the company responded to the review.  Also be aware of any contractors where you can’t find any reviews at all.  Look for photos and visual proof of some finished projects and follow up by getting names of real customers and go see the completed projects.

Price: This is the most common area where making the wrong choice could potentially cost you a lot of money. Focus on the value of the services that are being provided, over which contractor has the cheapest price.  When all is said and done, you get what you pay for and you want a beautiful completed project that you can be proud to show off to your family and friends!

I hope this helps and good luck on your project!

Bryan Sebring has been in the residential remodeling industry since 1993 and founded Sebring Design Build in 1999. He has won numerous design and customer service awards and holds NAHB's Certified Graduate Remodeler designation.  He enjoys educating homeowners on the pitfalls of remodeling their home.

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