Choosing Your Remodeling Partner
By Ed Roskowinski, CR
Homeowners and publications often ask me, “How does someone find and choose a contractor when they’re planning a remodeling project?” The easy answer is to simply choose Vujovich. But if you’re looking for a less bias answer, here are a few tips;
If you don’t already have a designer or Architect in mind, I would recommend narrowing your search to a Design Build firm. There are many people who can help you remodel your home, but someone with professional design services can help you do it with character, style, and imagination. They’ll work with you to tailor the design to suit your personality, budget, and unique LIFESTYLE.
The best way to find a great partner is to get referrals from people you know. Most quality remodeling companies rely heavily on repeat business and referrals, and understand that quality workmanship and great customer service is the key. Talk to your neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers about what type of project you’re considering, and let them tell you who they’ve enjoyed working with.
If you’ve already partnered with a designer or Architect, start with the people they’ve had success with. But don’t limit yourself to their list of team members. If you have someone else in mind, don’t hesitate to put him or her into the mix.
Peruse company web sites to see what types of projects they do and in what areas of town. Do the photos speak to your sense of style, quality and budget? When you hire a contractor you’re hiring them for their sensibilities. You want someone who will make suggestions you like so hire someone whose sensibilities you like. Also, check with the Consumer Affairs Office and the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints and the contractor is in good standing.
One of the most important aspects of any successful project is the dialogue between you, the homeowner and the contractor. When interviewing, ask yourself, “Is the contractor really listening to me?” “Am I really listening to the contractor, and if not, why not?” You want to be sure you can feel comfortable tossing ideas and views back and forth with this person, and that they value your input.
Some questions to ask a potential contractor;
What do you see as important issues or considerations in our project?
How will you gather information about our needs, goals, etc?
Who will we be working with? Who else will be working on my project?
How busy are you? How long will the design and construction take?
What sets you apart from the rest?
Will you help us choose products?
Will you share with us a list of past clients and architects you’ve worked with?
Avoid contractors who make things sound quick and easy, or offer free or nearly free design services. The old adage of, “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more appropriate. A quick or free design doesn’t solve all of the requirements of a space and often leaves challenges to be solved later, for more cost and after your home is already torn apart.
Choosing a contractor is much like choosing a good partner. You go out on a few dates to see if you have a connection and to make sure no warning bells go off in your head. Then, when it feels right, you make a commitment. And, if you’ve chosen wisely, the next steps should be a lot of fun.
Ed Roskowinski is General Manger and VP of Vujovich Design Build, Inc., a 35-year design build firm specializing in building and remodeling unique Twin Cities homes for unique homeowners.