The design work is finished. You have a set of plans as well as a building permit. The only thing standing between you and your long-awaited home remodel is the requirement to find a qualified contractor. Someone you can put your trust in with one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make after your first house. In this essay, I’ll detail what I believe to be the most effective technique for ensuring success when hiring a contractor for a remodel project. Choose the best full home remodeling contractor in houston.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) of the Department of Consumer Affairs licenses and regulates contractors in California, where my remodeling company is situated. Their website is terrific for information on best practices and contractor status. On the CSLB website, you can check a contractor by name or license number.
It will reveal whether or not they have a bond and workers’ compensation for their employees. These are necessary. If there has been disciplinary action, it will be documented as well. Whether your project will take place outside of California, contact your local state government to discover whether there is a comparable agency. Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area to determine if any complaints have been filed against the contractor you want to hire.
Specific qualifications are necessary. For example, what is the length of time your contractor has been in business? How long will they be in operation? It’s in your best interest for your contractor to stay in business for the duration of your project and many years.
Many contractors have gone bankrupt in the middle of a project, leaving the owner with a deconstructed house and finding a new contractor to take over. If something goes wrong after the job is completed, you’ll want the contractor to be available to repair it. Your contractor must have liability insurance if an accident or breakdown occurs during or after the project. Qualified contractors voluntarily carry liability insurance.
I only recommend the traditional knowledge to “get at least three bids” when you need a discrete home repair, such as a new roof, a paint job, or new doors and windows. The scope of work is evident in this situation, and it is pretty simple for several specialty contractors to offer apples-to-apples bids. If your project involves multiple trades and is more involved, it may be best to take a different strategy than soliciting “free estimates.” There is no conventional response to this scenario in the residential remodel market, and the expectations of owners, architects, and builders vary greatly. Please allow me to explain my strategy.
Public works, competitive bid situation is one to examine. It is a formal procedure. The blueprints and specs are finished. Bids must be formatted consistently. This enables an apples-to-apples comparison of offers. All qualified bidders are welcome to participate. This ensures client satisfaction and a level playing field for contractors. It is required that the request be awarded at some point and that it be awarded to the lowest bidder.
When the bid is awarded, the information is obliged to be made public. On the other hand, the residential remodel market lacks these constraints and often employs less formal bidding scenarios. Competing contractors may submit bids that differ significantly in format when combined with preliminary designs and specifications. This will make a fair comparison of their proposals difficult, if not impossible.
Creating bids is time-consuming and costly. If no direct pay is provided for this expense, it becomes an overhead charge. Overhead costs are recovered through consumer bills based on the contractor’s rates. Their rates rise in direct proportion to their overhead. The more payments they bear by providing “free estimates,” the higher their recovery rates must be.
As a result, the contractor’s customers subsidize all of this bidding, even for prospective customers who never hire the contractor. An alternative I favor is requiring each customer to pay for at least a fraction of their cost-planning expenses. This strategy allows my company to maintain price competitiveness while providing the most significant product and service. I recommend owners interview several contractors, examine their references, and then pick the most qualified.
Hiring your contractor as early as feasible in the procedure is in your best interest. They can provide technical and economic information to you and your architect to help you make aesthetic, budgeting, and schedule decisions. Further discussion of this strategy can be found in Jim Locke’s “The Well Built House” and our blog, “Trade Secrets,” check the link below.
This method lacks the “advantage” of directly comparing project costs between contractors. However, working with someone you’ve vetted, who you trust, who is on your team from start to finish, and who can add a unique value to the design creation and the building process, I believe, is a more substantial benefit. And nothing prevents you from pressuring your contractor to give you the best possible deal.
Jerry James owns the copyright.
Jerry, who had previously worked as an independent stained-glass artist, became an apprentice glazier in Boise, Idaho, in 1975 and was a member of Painter & Allied Trades Union 477. Two years later, he started working as an apprentice carpenter in the residential sector. After moving to San Francisco in 1980, he continued to work as a carpenter. He was a carpenter and foreman for RD Rice Construction, Luddington Construction, and Jones & Kiefer.
Jerry launched Acker & James Construction in 1987 after constructing the first Burning Man in 1986. From 1989 through 1997, he worked as a carpenter and foreman for Ryan Associates. He was a foreman, estimator, site supervisor, and project manager for CVC, Moroso Construction, and Thompson Brooks from 1999 to 2002. Jerry James established FR James Construction in 2003.
FR James Construction is a general contractor in Mill Valley that serves clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We produce architectural-quality construction, are very organized, like collaborating with architects, and provide a very personal level of service at fair pricing to our clients.
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