Updated: Aug 14, 2021
Remodeling or building a bathroom can be a stimulating experience or a nightmare. A high percentage of clients that I have worked for have had a horrible experience with a contractor in the past, among which I can count are eternal deadlines, unfinished work, theft within the property, outsourcing of 100% of the work, execution of the project as a part-time job, take the money and leave, facilities outside all building codes, work without guarantees, lawsuits for breach of contract, etc. The list seems to be endless and constantly growing. Therefore, I am encouraged to share with you some essential tips when hiring a bathroom remodeler.
Tip 1, How is the price built?
Tip 2, How often will you see the contractor?
Tip 3, Licensing and insurance.
Tip 4, Past works.
Tip 5, Review.
Tip 1, How is the price built? It is common to think that an expensive contractor is better than a cheap one. However, I have noticed that this is not always the case (specifically Utah because I do not know the market in other states). Many contractors set their prices depending on the clients’ face; if they think the client has money or if the project is in a higher income area, they tend to charge more expensively. Also, if they do not want to carry out the project because they do not know how to do it, they will tend to charge more expensively. A good exercise is to understand the project’s final price to differentiate good contractors from the rest. A professional contractor will deliver an estimate with specific items and standardized charges since they create budgets all the time; therefore, they tend to standardize their prices. You could say that the Final Price built thing by item and where the origin of each charge is specified comes from a contractor who knows what he is doing.
Conversely, a contractor who only gives you a total number to pay has a high probability of avoiding the type of contractor.
Generally, if a contractor is not professional from the start, they will not be professional for the rest of the project either.
Tip 2, How often will you see the contractor? A good contractor will not necessarily execute the project in person; they generally have specialized work teams for each project stage. For example, in a bathroom remodeling, the following equipment will interfere: Demolition, plumbing, electricity, framing, drywall, taping and texture, tile, among others. A good contractor will introduce each team member to the homeowner and explain each stage of the remodeling project. On the contrary, a wrong contractor will only be seen on the job site to collect money. The homeowner should expect that a contractor is frequently present for considerable periods and ready to answer questions or deal with problems during execution. If you only see your contractor on payday, your project has likely been outsourced entirely or in a large percentage. The problem with subcontracting is that the homeowner loses control over the project. The subcontractor does not feel the responsibility they should think if the project were their own. Therefore the project is in limbo.
Tip 3, Licensing and insurance. Utah has a constantly evolving regulation, allowing both the contractor and the homeowner to be protected from scams. DOPL is a division of the chamber of commerce in Utah in charge of managing and controlling professional licenses within the state; on its website www.dopl.utah.gov among other things, you can find out if the contractor you are evaluating hiring has the necessary permits to carry out the remodeling project. You can search by the name of the contractor and know all the information related to the license in a few seconds. Despite having this easy-to-use tool, many homeowners do not background the contractor because they “trust” the word of the contractors. I think it is wise to check the contractor’s background before deciding who they will work with; this way, you can save many bad times down the road.
There are different types of insurance within the construction industry; however, if a contractor doesn’t have insurance with the state’s minimum requirements, likely, they do not have licenses to build either.
Tip 4, Past works. Today it is prevalent for remodeling contractors to have in their possession pictures of each of the jobs they have performed in the past. The homeowner can find these photographs on their websites or social media. If your contractor does not have published photos, you can ask him to show you past work directly from his phone. If your contractor does not have photographs of recent work, you should raise a red flag and ask more questions about it.
Honestly, it is not common for a contractor dedicated full time to his business not to have pictures of past jobs.
Tip 5, Review. Today various platforms on the internet allow users to rate the service received by contractors, sites such as Angie, Home Advisor, Yelp, Porch, among others, work based on references. Google developed a way to receive and manage reviews from businesses. Therefore, having references from contractors is not difficult to achieve. To go deeper into this matter, I can add that care must be taken when checking reviews because some contractors buy reviews from Google to show a false performance of their Internet businesses. So I can conclude that a contractor with quality references is better than one with many reviews of doubtful origin. Angie has a reference verification system, so it can say that their reviews are more reliable.
Choosing a contractor to remodel your bathroom is a decision that you should consider with caution. The budget you assign to the project can be fair, well planned, and effective if the person who executes the task is the right one. Unfortunately, I have seen from experience how some homeowners have wasted thousands of dollars on poorly executed or unfinished jobs. I hope these tips can be helpful when choosing who to trust.