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What to Look for in a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Aug 17, 2007
Finding a contractor to remodel your bathroom is little different from finding a contractor for any other remodeling job. It is important to be cautious when hiring anyone to do any work on your home, especially when it comes to plumbing and electrical. Since both of these are often involved in a bathroom remodel a little extra caution can be worth your while.

Many contractors advertise in newspapers, yellow pages, internet, radio and TV. You shouldn't however consider an ad to be an indication of the quality of work that a contractor might do. You should get several written estimates from reputable contractors and don't be afraid to ask for explanations for price variations. Don't automatically choose the lowest bidder.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, you will want to either hire a general contractor who will then be responsible for hiring out specialty contractors, getting necessary permits and scheduling inspections or hire each contractor and manage all aspects of the project yourself. If you are doing a complete remodel, you could need separate contractors for plumbing, fixtures, electric, flooring, cabinetry, general carpentry, dry wall, and painting. You also may want to consult a designer. Many find it much simpler to allow a general contractor to manage these contractors.

Be careful of less than reputable general contractors. Be skeptical of the following:

1. Door to door solicitors
2. Cash only contractors.
3. Contractors that ask you to get the necessary permits.
4. They just happen to have left over materials from a previous job they can use.
5. If there is no listing in the local phone directory for the contractor.
6. Contractors that offer you discounts to find them other customers.
7. You are pressured to make an immediate decision.
8. You are asked to pay for the entire job up-front.
9. They tell you that your job will be a "demonstration".
10. The contractor offers exceptionally long guarantees.
11. If the contractor suggests you finance your remodel using a lender he knows. This could be a home refinance scam that causes you to lose your home.

Here are some questions you should ask when interview prospective contractors.

1. How long has your company been in business? Look for a well established company. Check with any available consumer protection officials.
2. How many jobs similar to mine have you finished recently? Ask for a list. It could help you determine if the contractor is familiar with you type of project.
3. Does my job require a permit. If the contractor asks you to get permits, it may indicate that he might not be licensed.
4. Do you have a list of references?
5. Will you be using subcontractors? If so, May I meet them? You should ask the subcontractors whether they are usually paid in a timely manner when working with your contractor and make sure they have the proper insurance and licenses.
6. What type of insurance do you carry? Contractors should have personal liability, worker's compensation, and property damage coverage. Ask to see current copies of insurance documents.

Check References.

Speak to some of their previous customers. You may want to ask them:

May you visit their home to see the work that was done?
Were they satisfied with the work?
Were you kept informed about the status of the project?
Were there any problems along the way?
Were there any unexpected costs? If so what were they?
Did workers showed up on time and did they clean up after themselves?
If you needed a contractor today would you want to use them again?

Check with prospective contractors about payment options available. For larger remodeling jobs you can get your own loan or ask the contractor to arrange financing. Since your bathroom job may be a litter smaller, you may want to pay by check or credit card. Avoid paying with cash.
About the Author
Aaron is a writer for the Bathroom Remodeling Search.
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