Questions To Ask A Home Remodeler Before Hiring Them
Devour this list of hard-hitters to see if that contractor is the one you’re looking for.
Hi there, if you’re about to research home remodeling contractors in your area, then this list of questions and explanatory content should get you good and warmed up. Enjoy!
1) “Have you always been known as X?”
First and foremost, not every business that changes its brand name does so because of some huge shriek-worthy scandal. Often companies simply evolve their brand and branding material because they’ve been successful and are growing.
Perhaps they’ve been bought by a big fish in the home remodeling industry to expand?
Or, you may be chatting with a smaller localized crew who focuses specifically on your area while being a part of a larger operation.
Example: XteriorPRO is an independently owned and operated local home remodeling company in St. Louis, which is part of the nationwide Window Depot USA family.
Thing is, we grew beyond doing windows alone. ‘XteriorPRO’ makes sense because we offer Roof Replacements, Siding Installation, Window Replacements, Entry Door Installation, Patio Door Installation, and finally Gutter Protection services.
Point here is, for you, the goal is to familiarize yourself with who exactly you’re dealing with and what kinds of resources they have.
- Did they in fact change their name due to horrible reviews, financial troubles with unhappy customers, or worse?
- Are you actually talking to a one-man-band or an ultra-small local crew with limited resources and even less in terms of warranties & guarantees?
- Maybe a franchise that focuses on large, high-quality, and dependable American manufacturer products (this is where you often get the best warranties)?
When in doubt, head on over to their Better Business Bureau Profile and check the brand name to see what the story is before signing any paperwork. If they don’t have one, that could be considered somewhat of a red flag.
But, that’s not to say they can’t make up for it elsewhere. Like, let’s assume their portfolio seems off-the-charts spectacular at first glance…
2) “How many portfolio projects from the last year or two?”
What you want to see is specialization parallel to your remodeling needs.
If you’re looking for a contractor to come in and make your siding and new windows the talk of the neighborhood, then what good is it if their portfolio is pure bathroom remodels?
- Along with similar projects, get an idea for how regularly they do the particular kind of work you need.
- Has it been a year since their crews did anything like what you’re looking for? If so, why? Perhaps your needs are irregular, or they aren’t specialized enough.
Take some time to go through any Contractor Galleries with a fine tooth comb. Insanely good photography aside, ensure you’re able to clearly understand the scope of work involved.
3) “May I See Some References, Testimonials, and Reviews?”
Now we’re talking about the Holy Trinity of good consumer homework – checking up on references, testimonials and reviews. Before allowing home remodelers on your property, you NEED to have a good grasp of their Contractor Reputation.
While no one is going to allow their previous customers to be bombarded with questions by potential clients over the years, reputable home remodelers will have a way for you to check references when you show you’re a serious inquiry.
Once you’ve got them on the line, have some questions prepared.
Here’s a few we suggest folks ask when contacting our references in St. Louis:
- Do you feel they helped you achieve the project you wanted?
- Did they stay within your budget and timeframe?
- Did they communicate clearly and keep you in the loop?
- Did you experience any issues while working with XteriorPRO of St. Louis?
- If so, did they resolve these issues to your satisfaction?
In terms of testimonials and reviews, the difference is really just about substance. Testimonials often come in the forms of longer reviews and narratives (like 4-5+ paragraphs) and video testimonials.
Reviews on the other hand are pretty self-explanatory, but do keep in mind that very simple-sounding and simply written reviews could potentially be faked.
4) “What’s your process like?”
If the contractor is worth their salt, you shouldn’t have to ask!
This question gets at the heart of both their home remodeling process AND tells you everything you need to know about their level of customer service.
Honestly, from the first call through to first meeting/appointment, inspections, and on into the final phase and that last ‘Job well done!’ handshake, their process should feel professional, curated, practiced, and smooth — the ideal home remodeling experience.
The one part of the process you may need to ask about upfront is this…
“What if I change my mind, or something needs to be altered like the timeline?”
Like a trail of crumbs, the question should lead you to who will be doing the day-to-day work and who you’ll talk to if needs change. However, they really shouldn’t.
If your needs change, or you change your mind halfway through a project, then you worked with a contractor who’s process isn’t thorough enough in what we call the Needs Analysis & Proposal phase.
- One way to tell how professional a home remodeling company is, is through the level of training their consultants go through. How knowledgeable and trained are they?
- All special considerations should be taken into account and included in contractual agreements before work begins.
- The degrees to which your visions are verified need to go well beyond a mere questionnaire!
5) “Customer-friendly payment processes & warranties?”
Once it’s time to talk turkey, what you’re after is transparency, user-friendly processes, and warranties you can depend on.
And this leads us back to Question #1 in a way, because you want to sleep soundly at night knowing your investment and your property are taken care of; watched over around the clock by a dependendable warranty from a company you can trust.
When it comes to Lifetime Workmanship Warranty info, the payment information based on your project proposals, and everything else involved, look for companies who practice what we do here at XteriorPRO.
- No Confusing Legalese: Should you have a lawyer look over any legal agreements in your life before signing them? Yes. But, if the contract has no legalese and you find it very simple to check and confirm, that’s much better.
- No Fine Print: If you see fine print, throw up a huge red flag, call foul, and see what’s going on. There really shouldn’t be any. In reality, ‘fine print’ is typically there just to hide something in plain sight.
- No Hidden Charges: Trip charges? Service fees? Materials fees? All of this is in our humble opinion unnecessary and shady. For us, if our customers experience an installation issue, the cost is $0.00.
- No Prorating: What this typically means is that as time goes by your converge decreases. Ideally the contractor you choose doesn’t abide by these kinds of rules.
Sure, we could keep going and going, but those are five questions to ask a home remodeler that should spark highly-informative conversation while you’re assembling potential contractors.
In the St. Louis Area?
Free quotes? How involved are the business owners in your project? What are the financing options? To see our list of home remodeler questions we are most commonly asked by St. Louis homeowners, feel free to visit our FAQs section.