If only I had a Crystal Ball
At one time or another, most everyone has wished that they could have a crystal ball to see the unknown. Much like any uncertainty, hiring a remodeling contractor could be a good use for one. There are however, some visible signs that can help an unknowing homeowner see into the likelihood of a good or not-so-good remodeling experience.
One such sign can be checking with the local building official(s) to see if they can suggest a couple of contractors in your area. Another is to not only get references but also check on them by calling, driving by or even asking to see the work that was completed.
Another piece of worthwhile evidence is to ask whether or not the contractor belongs to any trade association(s) or other organization that provides some form of long term accountability, continued trade or business education and/or some form of mentoring. This will generally provide an insight as to how the contractor thinks of him or herself as pertaining to both personal and business development – as well as the betterment of the industry.
While interviewing contractors, either over the phone or at your home, listen for an openness and a willingness to share – do they discuss options and educate you about some of the pitfalls and nuances of the type of remodeling project you are considering? Keep in mind that an open disclosure of potentially problematic areas are generally not topics that get discussed by contractors who are only interested in making a fast dollar.
Lastly, listen for the contractors who have a process that they have developed. A process that will lead you from the dream concept to the finished product; one that instills a confidence in you. Some contractors, no matter how long in business, still use far too much liberty and far too many assumptions which can lead to uncertainty of design, schedule and perhaps most of all, your budget.