Nobody wants to pay more for something than they should. But when is a bargain not really a bargain? If you don’t get what you really want, it doesn’t matter how much you paid. All the “savings” in the world can’t make up for feeling dissatisfied.
There’s probably no place where that’s more apparent than in your own home. After all, you spend more time there than anywhere else. It’s your sanctuary. It’s the place you go to recharge and refresh. And if it doesn’t feel just right, you’re not going to be happy.
There are times, however, when homeowners looking to remodel their homes fall prey to remodelers who promise champagne results on a beer budget. The problem is that these contractors either don’t understand what’s involved in completing the project to the owner’s expectations—or they’re hoping to get a job with a low bid and make up the difference by adding on costs later.
How can you protect yourself if you’re considering remodeling your Naples-area home? Part of the answer lies in keeping a firm grip on the difference between value and price. And that means you need to . . .
Do Your Homework!
One of the first things you’ll want to do is check the prospective remodeler’s references. It’s important to talk with people who have hired the remodeler to do remodeling projects similar to the one you have planned. A beautifully remodeled kitchen or bathroom sheds little light on the remodeler’s ability to add a second story to your home.
When you talk to former clients, you’ll want to ask them if they had any problems with the quality, payment schedule, employees, or the completion schedule. The most revealing question you can ask is, “Would you hire this contractor again?” Some people are hesitant to make negative comments about a contractor, but people will be pretty straightforward about whether or not they’d hire a contractor again—and that’s all you need to know!
It’s also important to look at a remodeler’s work. Check out the quality of the craftsmanship and materials. Look at the overall aesthetics and creativity, and take note of how the remodeling project blends in with the design of the rest of the house.
Something homeowners often don’t think about is contractor licensing and insurance. You’ll want to make sure your contractor has a Collier County Contractor’s license or a State of Florida Contractor’s license. If you find out later that your contactor doesn’t have the proper license, it can cost you a bundle.
Proper insurance is a big deal as well. If your remodeler doesn’t carry workmen’s compensation insurance you could be liable for medical bills and lost wages if one of the employees is injured on the job.
Membership in a national trade association—such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Remodelers Council, National Kitchen and Bath Association, or National Association of Remodelers (NARI)—is a good indication of a remodeler’s professionalism. “Fly-by-night” con artists in the industry won’t want to leave a paper trail that joining a professional trade association creates.
And if you want to ensure value, check out the remodeler’s warranty. Granted, a warranty is only as good as the company backing it, but if someone isn’t willing to guarantee their work—stay away!
All of these factors are indicators of the kind of value you can expect to receive from a contractor. A low price doesn’t guarantee any of these things. Integrity, reputation, and a focus on customers are better guarantees that you’ll get the results you want on time and within your budget.
Let’s be clear. Nobody should pay more for something than it’s worth. But saving a few bucks isn’t your goal. What you really want is the value (quality materials and craftsmanship) for a fair price.