In today’s tech-savvy society, just about everything is done online. You can order almost anything you can imagine, and have it delivered directly to you in as little as two days! You can order your groceries for the week, pay online, and have them dropped off at your doorstep without talking to anyone or changing from your bathrobe. Whether we realize it or not, the convenience of ordering products and services online is influencing the way we think and the way we shop. This generation has become shockingly accustomed to making rash decisions and receiving quick service. And, if you don’t like your purchase? Send it back and buy something else with just a few clicks on your phone or computer. The quicker the transaction and the least amount of human interaction, the better. This might sound like an incredible convenience when you’re browsing the web, but this mindset can be dangerous when you’re considering larger investments – like a home remodel.
Over the last 35 years that we have been in business, our primary clients have been Babyboomers. The majority of those clients were slow in their decision-making, wanted to interview at least 3 contractors, and often waited months before committing to their major remodeling project. Now, in 2019, we are seeing a shift in our clientele as the next generation takes over as homeowners. Unfortunately, the rash mentality of this younger generation provides an easy sell for contractors intending to over-promise and under-deliver. From super-speedy timelines to unbelievably low prices, these contractors will say whatever it takes to get some of your money. The reality is that you shouldn’t believe everything you read online, and you shouldn’t jump into a major remodeling project without doing your research first!
One of the best pieces of advice we can give to those planning to remodel their home is to call up your potential contractor’s past clients for an honest-to-goodness conversation. Though the thought of using a phone for anything other than texting or browsing social media sites might seem old-fashioned (crazy, huh?!), trust us, you will feel much more confident in your decision to hire a contractor after having a discussion with someone that has already worked with them on a similar project as yours. In fact, we believe in this method so much that we encourage all of our clients to call at least three of our past clients to do so. We provide a list of 200+ references, including the city and the type of remodel that was completed, so our clients can get an honest, unbiased opinion of other’s experiences with us. You should always, always ask your potential contractor for a list of references and be leery if they don’t have any!
Upon calling the references, we have found that there are particular questions that are helpful to ask. Of course, these are only suggestions, but we believe that the answers to these three questions should be enough to influence your decision when it comes to hiring the right contractor:
1. Did the project turn out how you wanted?
This might seem like a pretty broad question, but more often than not, the homeowner will give you a straight answer without hesitation. It’s important to remember that sometimes unforeseen or unpreventable circumstances do occur in remodels (especially in older homes), but how the project was handled and the overall outcome should be taken into consideration.
2. Was the total cost equal to the estimate provided?
Money is a touchy subject for some people, so asking how much they spent on their remodel might not be the best approach. However, asking if their total cost was equal to the amount they were quoted is an important question to have answered. If they say no, you might ask why — whether they added on to the project, if an unexpected expense occurred, or if the contractor continued to charge for things not included in the estimate (the latter should raise a HUGE red flag!)
3. Was the project completed in the timeframe you expected?
Timeline is another important aspect of a home remodel. Would you want to hire a contractor that does great work, but has a reputation of taking 3-4 months longer than the projected completion date to get done? In this industry, time management is an art; particularly on larger projects that involve multiple professionals and tradesmen. The ability to schedule the right person on the right day and avoid downtime is key to completing a project on a forecasted schedule. You’ll want to make sure you hire a contractor that is experienced and skilled when it comes to time management!
After discussing these three questions with a few of your potential contractor’s past clients, you should feel much more confident in your decision to hire. While this isn’t necessarily a “quick and easy” process and it does require some time and human interaction, the benefit will be well worth it!
If you are interested in remodeling your home and would like more information on the process, or if you are interested in reviewing our references list to chat with some of our past clients, we’d be more than happy to accommodate! Contact us today to get started!
The Medford Design-Build Team