If you’re getting ready to remodel the bathroom, you’re probably well-aware that there are multiple moving parts to this project. From tearing out the tiles to installing the tub, toilet and vanity, hiring the right contractor will leave you with a masterpiece rather than a major headache.
Regardless of square footage, make no mistake, this isn’t a small job. Hiring the wrong contractor can sink your project. Repairing a bathroom that’s been remodeled shabbily adds up. Get it right the first time by hiring a reputable professional.
1. Ask for referrals
Check in with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors for a contractor they recommend. Ask what made the experience positive as standards of excellence can differ greatly from one homeowner to another. If no one supplies a ready name, refer to trade groups such as National Kitchen & Bath Association for designer and contractor referrals and feel free to cross reference names with the Better Business Bureau.
2. Check credentials
Make sure any contractors you’re considering are licensed, insured, and offer a guarantee on their work. If subcontractors will be called in to help complete the job, you’ll want to make sure they hold these credentials as well. Remember, not all contractors are created equal. Just because someone can build a deck, that doesn’t mean he or she can skillfully install glass tile in your shower. Be sure bathrooms are this professional’s specialty.
3. Make a short list of candidates
Before hiring a contractor, you’ll want to do a little side-by-side comparison. Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates to two or three, meet with each and explain your ideal design for your new bathroom. You’ll want to see that the contractor is really listening and not up-selling or downgrading your vision. Communication is key.
4. Get bids in writing
Once you’ve culled your list of prospective contractors, get their proposed estimates in writing to compare and analyze. Be sure each outlines the scope of the project and includes the following: start and end dates, details regarding the materials that will be used, the total price and payment schedule, as well as a clear description of what the contractor will do in terms of clean-up, be it daily or upon completing the remodel. Find out if the contractor offers a warranty covering materials and workmanship and, if so, for what length of time.
5. Check references
Before you sign on the dotted line, gather feedback from people who’ve hired anyone you’re considering. Were they so satisfied with the finished product that they’d employ this person again? Don’t forget to ask if the job was completed on time and within the agreed upon budget. Because the contractor and crew may be in your home from dawn ’til dusk – often for weeks on end – you want to hire someone you like and trust. Feel free to inquire about the contractor’s cleanliness and demeanor while on the job. Heed the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and ask artisans for photos of similar projects they’ve completed.