Are you thinking about hiring a remodeling contractor in Calabasas, CA?
If so, you’ve come to the right place! Hiring the right remodeling contractor can be a bit confusing and overwhelming.
They can range from small, local firms to big corporations, and they vary in dependability and price.
In a nutshell, you want to make sure that you find someone who understands your goals, values, and budget.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of handy tips on how to find the most reliable general contractor for your home improvement project.
Actionable Tips to Find the Right Remodeling Contractor in Calabasas
1. Define your project precisely and make a clear plan
A vague or non-existent plan is often the reason that remodeling projects take longer than expected, cost more than planned, and cause a lot of frustration.
So before you even start looking for contractors, sit down with your partner or family and discuss exactly what you want to accomplish with this project.
Do you want to:
- Add more space?
- Add new features?
- Update an old room?
- Create more storage?
- Improve energy efficiency?
- Increase home value?
2. Do your research
Before you even get to the point of interviewing contractors, do some research on the project you want to be done and make sure it’s feasible.
Read about the type of materials you want as well.
3. Ask for referrals from family, friends, and neighbors
While there’s no guarantee that a friend, family member, or neighbor has had a good experience with their contractor, asking them for recommendations may help narrow down the list of candidates that are available in your area.
If a particular contractor is recommended more than twice, that’s usually a good sign.
When someone gives you a referral, make sure to dig deeper and ask questions about their experience.
A good practice is to drive by their homes to look at their remodeling projects while asking them about their contractor.
4. Ask local hardware store owners
If you can’t get a referral from the sources mentioned above, ask around in hardware stores and lumberyards.
They often know which contractors have a reputation and who have a history of taking shortcuts.
Their opinion is deemed valuable especially if they’ve been in business for a long time.
5. Check online literature and reviews
Once you have a list of contractors at hand, the next thing to do is screen them by going over their company website.
This site should have plenty of information, including company history, testimonials, and contact information.
In addition to their site, you can check review platforms or even their social media accounts to see what people are saying about them.
6. Host a home viewing
Once you’ve narrowed your list to about 3-4 prospective contractors, it’s a good idea to phone them for an initial interview.
However, it’s also perfectly fine to skip this step and ask them to come and see your property for an estimate right away.
Once the contractor is at your home, be sure to ask for the following.
License, bonding, and insurance
You can’t trust someone who isn’t licensed by the state to do any sort of remodeling work.
Licensed contractors have been through training and are expected to abide by certain standards of professionalism, so you can have confidence that their work will be up to your local building codes.
If a project goes wrong, you want assurance that both the contractor and yourself are protected financially.
Bonding is designed to protect consumers against shoddy or incomplete work or financial losses due to dishonest contractors.
Insurance protects both the homeowner and contractor in case of an accident on the property during construction.
An experienced contractor should be able to provide references from previous customers who will vouch for them, but it’s always wise to ask for these in advance and check them out before hiring anyone for the job.
You can call these references and ask them relevant questions about their experience with the contractor.
The more references they can provide, the better.
This goes hand in hand when asking for references.
Check their gallery of previous work and ask relevant questions.
It’s also great if the contractor has done more projects that are relevant to yours.
Show them the area that needs remodeling and present your plan.
It pays to be as detailed as possible in communicating what you want with the contractor.
Ask for his opinion and suggestions.
A good contractor would be sensible enough to respect your plans but assertive enough to provide professional insight and recommendations when necessary.
This is when you ask for an estimate on the project, including materials.
Ask the contractor about the materials involved and if they’re suitable for the project.
A good contractor would also know where to procure these components, especially if he has good connections with suppliers in the area.
Ask the contractor you’re considering to walk you through their warranty policy.
A good warranty should cover at least one year of labor and materials after completion of the project (two years is preferable).
The warranty also should include an inspection clause stating that if any problems arise within the warranty period, they will be fixed without charge.
A reliable general contractor is never ambiguous about the payment schedule.
You should know exactly how much you should pay in specific periods.
Depending on the size of the project, payments can be arranged per month, or per milestone completed.
A good contractor would never ask for a full payment upfront so steer away from those who do.
It is, however acceptable that they ask for a reasonable down payment.
Ask about a contractor’s estimated timeframe for your project. The clearer his answer is, the better.
Ask when work will commence if you hire him and when it will be completed.
Beware of those who will overpromise in terms of completion time, only to underdeliver.
Ask your contractor if he will work with a subcontractor for your project because they usually do.
Ask for the credentials of the subcontractor and make sure they too have the same level of skill and experience.
Conflicts and disagreements
The reality is, home remodeling and renovation projects are wildly unpredictable regardless of the amount of planning you poured into them.
It is perfectly normal for you and your contractor to have disagreements and differences of opinion.
Make sure to ask how he has handled such conflicts in the past.
Lastly, throughout this home viewing/interview, get a feel for the contractor’s character and personality.
Are they easy to get along with? Do they communicate respectfully and pleasantly?
You have to consider these things especially if you have a sizeable project at hand, and you’re going to interact with this person for a considerable length of time.
7. Get multiple bids
You should always get multiple bids for your project, especially if you’re working with a limited budget.
It is important to remember that the lowest bid may not be the best choice.
A contractor offering a substantially lower price than the competition may be cutting corners or using inferior materials.
Actionable Tips to Find the Right Contractor in Calabasas – Conclusion
Working with a qualified and trustworthy remodeling contractor is the first step toward having a successful home remodeling project in Calabasas, CA.
The steps we outlined above may help you find and identify qualified contractors before beginning your renovation.
If you follow these steps and practice due diligence, you’ll be enjoying a successful home improvement project in no time.