7 Ways to Select the Best Contractor for your Bathroom Renovations

>> Feb 11, 2019


Remodeling any part of your home is a serious decision that calls for careful planning, budgeting, and finding a contractor who will bring your vision to reality. Bathrooms are an essential part of the home, and therefore, a bit of legwork is needed to find the most suitable contractor. If you are contemplating renovating your bathroom, here are seven tips that will guide you in your quest for the best contract.
image:pixabay.com/en/bathroom-bath-wc-toilet-sink-2094733
1. Start with Referrals

Whether you are a novice at home renovations or you have several projects under your belt, the best place to start looking is referrals from trusted friends and other networks. Perhaps your neighbour just completed a remodelling project, or your colleague is building a property. These people have the experience working with contractors – good and bad ones – therefore, take their guidance to heart. Ask for contact details of the best contractors they have worked with and add to your pool of prospective candidates whom you will interview. Avoid the pitfalls of hiring lesser-known contractors who under quote for services.

2. Phone interviews

Recommendations may come from family and friends in a different town which means seeing the contractors face to face may not be feasible. Distance issues are where phone interviews come in, and they are just as useful as interviewing people in person. Prepare for the call by listing down the main questions that will help you determine if the person qualifies or not. Print out several sheets, so you indicate scores or make notes for each contractor you interview. Some of the questions that you need to ask are: Do you take on small-scale projects like remodelling one bathroom? Do you work with subcontractors and if so, how well do you know them? Before closing the interview, ask each candidate that you are interested in to share reference details.

3. Examine Credentials

Following the telephone interviews, you will get the hang of who you are dealing with and narrow down the list to top five contractors. Check their credentials from their company websites by entering a search of ‘bathroom renovations Brisbane’ and visit LinkedIn profiles too. The Australian Constructors Association(ACA) is another source of reliable information in this regard. The goal is to verify any information they relayed concerning professional qualifications to weed out the bogus ones. This step is where you also check licenses to see if these candidates have current licenses to operate within that territory or city. Once again, you will narrow down the list, and hopefully, you will remain with a sizeable – but somewhat dependable – pool of prospects.

4. Face-to-Face Meeting

Since the remodelling contractor will be working inside your property for several weeks, it is only fair that you become acquainted beforehand. During this meeting, candidates should present their cost estimates for the job so you can evaluate if their proposals fit within your budget. Beware that some people lay on the charm to distract you from asking the tough questions then you end up hiring the wrong person. These personalities can also fool you while in reality, they are a pain to work with and have possibly disputed with clients before. The Better Business Bureau will have records of disputes and if so, drop the affected candidate.

5. Background Screening

Great recommendations and a charming personality notwithstanding, you must do a thorough background check of the candidates who are still in the running. They already provided reference information during the first interview but feel free to ask for more client references if necessary. Remember, it is possible for a great contractor to make colossal mistakes every once in a while so don't be fooled by just a few successful projects. Dig deeper until you find where the bodies are buried so to speak and query them about it. How did the problem occur? Was it resolved and how? Getting to know these contractors from the perspective of past clients is vehemently crucial in shaping the outcome of this hunt for the best bathroom contractor. Screening also entails checking their finances to gauge their capacity to handle your project including hiring qualified workforce. The last thing you want is to procure a contractor who can barely pay wages or one who is embroiled in malpractice lawsuits.

6. Scrutinise the Contract

After investigating your prospective candidates leaving no stone unturned, it is now time to pick the best choice. Most people say that following your gut is vital, but I would combine that with hard evidence based on the interviewing process. Upon finding the best candidate, make things official by asking them to draft a contract which includes a host of essential items: their final bid for the job, scope to be covered, schedule of activities, etc. We raised the point on disputes earlier so ensure that the contract expressly stipulates how to resolve conflicts and an express warranty. If you are not sure about an item indicated therein or missing entirely, check in with the contractor and only sign the document when you are satisfied it meets all requirements. If this is your first foray into renovation projects, feel free to consult a lawyer before committing.

7. Flexibility

In spite of all the meticulous planning discussed above, it is not unusual for renovation projects to run into unforeseen trouble. Should this happen, maintain calm and be ready to exercise some flexibility here and there. Leaving some wiggle room – on both entities – will go a long way in mitigating issues before they escalate. Nevertheless, don't be too generous with flexibility as this may pave the way for your contractor taking advantage of the situation. For instance, taking too many off-days and hence extending your timelines unnecessarily.

Remodelling your bathroom to meet the latest standards is a noble project that comes with great responsibility. Do your homework well, so you make informed decisions and budget aptly, so there are no financial hurdles down the line. Keep your eyes open to prevent hiring mistakes as they are costly in the long run and could jeopardise the project entirely.

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