Qualifying A Renovator
The hardest part in evaluating a renovator is knowing exactly what to look for and ask. Below is a list that will help you decide with confidence who is the best renovator for your home.
Business Experience and Management
Does the renovator:
- Maintain a permanent mailing address, email address, published personal phone number, fax number, and a cell phone, pager, or voice-messaging system? You will want to be able to reach the renovator quickly and easily, especially at critical times.
- Carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries?
- Ask for a copy of the renovator's insurance certificates so you can be sure you will not be liable in these situations for property damage or job site related injuries.
- Ask the renovator how much the project will add to your home's value and obtain the necessary additional insurance.
- Have an established presence in the community?
- How long has the company been in business under this name? Longevity suggests financial stability.
- Does the renovator maintain solid relationships with experienced independent trade contractors such as plumbers and electricians and work with them as a team to keep your job running smoothly?
- Possess a trustworthy reputation among customers, peers, and people involved in all aspects of the industry?
- Does the renovator have a track record of successful projects similar to one you are planning?
- Ask for a list of building materials suppliers and call them to see if the renovator has an account or pays for materials on delivery. Most suppliers are willing to extend credit to financially-sound companies.
- Does the renovator actively participate in a trade association such as the Regina & Region Home Builders’ Association which keeps members informed about new products, construction techniques, business practices, and industry issues. Participation demonstrates a renovator's commitment to professionalism in the renovating industry. How long has the renovator been a member of the Association?
Construction and Technical Expertise
Does the renovator:
- Have a working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area. This knowledge helps to provide reliable estimates. An extremely low bid may indicate lack of experience and an inability to later cover the actual costs involved in the job and create unnecessary change orders.
- What products and materials would the renovator likely be using for your renovation?
- Does the renovator offer an array of options and thus demonstrate knowledge of and experience with a variety of products, materials, and techniques?
- Specialize in particular types of projects?
- Arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and therefore liable for the work).
- Offer a warranty? If so, what kind and for how long?
- What is covered under the warranty and what is not?
- Agree to begin and complete your job within a reasonable time?
Customer Service and Communication
Does the renovator:
- Respond promptly to your inquiries?
- Schedule meetings and attend them on time?
- Emphasize service and developing a trusting relationship with you?
- Listen to and understand your needs and wants and work with you to ensure that the plans for your job accurately reflect your expectations?
- When discussing your written priorities, does the renovator show enthusiasm for your ideas and suggest ways to make them work within your budget?
- Facilitate communication among all parties involved in the project?
- Will the renovator provide you with schedule updates so you can make appropriate decisions and prepare for any unavoidable inconveniences?
- Ask how the company handles communications during the construction phase of the job between you and the renovation team, including the independent trade contractors?