Renovating your home is a big decision involving a lot of elements, some of them emotional and others operational.
As a result, sometimes homeowners make decisions for the wrong reasons, including how they choose their contractor. It is risky to trust the work to be done on your home to someone simply because they “seem like a good person” or they quoted the lowest price.
Virtually every aspect of renovating a home is tied to process – how and when a contractor does things — and the results produced by that process. Many homeowners have been known to focus their renovation as a transaction: “As the general contractor I’ll do this and this for this amount of money.”
Basing a home renovation solely on a financial transaction is shortsighted, and there are many examples where this approach is proven to set-up for failure.
Making cost the driving factor makes a homeowner susceptible to contractors who may be on shaky financial grounds. A cash-strapped contractor who is looking for a quick win to bring in some much-needed money is often willing to cut corners to cut costs so they can offer a hard-to-turn-down price.
Likewise, homeowners fearful of increasing costs might jump at opportunities to keep costs low even when it is not in their best interest. They may unknowingly accept inferior or inappropriate products because they are presented as a “this week only” deal or embrace lower quality construction solutions because they will “save time and money.”
Ad hoc, haphazard decisions such as these indicate a contractor’s lack of process and can have a less-than-satisfactory or even disastrous effect on your home renovation project.
Process Is Everything
Instead of focusing on the financial aspect of your home renovation project, focus on a relationship you can develop with your contractor built on trust.
Can you trust your contractor to work closely with you to complete your project successfully? You are investing as much in your contractor as you are in your home renovation, so you should choose your contractor carefully. And that starts by considering their process.
Here is why the process is so important: It provides predictability, which delivers quality results produced by a team working together to successfully complete a project using a proven and time tested process.
In short, a good process leads to positive, repeatable outcomes.
Conversely, poor process leads to poor planning, producing poor results.
Process-less contractors focused on the financial aspect of the project tend to gravitate toward the lowest-cost labor and materials and spur-of-the-moment decision-making, all of which inevitably leads to poor outcomes and a defensive, even antagonistic relationship with the homeowner. In the end, nobody wins.
Let’s take a closer look at the various factors to consider when hiring a home renovation company and their proven process for producing outstanding results:
Determining Contractor/Client Fit
As we mentioned previously, the relationship, not the financial transaction is the key to project success. You want to look for a contractor with a process that includes listening closely to you and your wants and needs. Someone who will work with you and communicate clearly throughout the project. A company with a culture of quality craftsmanship and an attention to details.
Here are some questions you should ask to determine contractor fit for your home renovation:
How do you go about the planning phase?
How do you schedule a renovation and what goes into it?
Do you have dedicated project managers?
How do you ensure on-time and on-budget?
How do you ensure quality results?
How much of the work is subcontractors versus direct employees and how long have you been working with them?
How long have you been in business?
How do you track customer satisfaction?
What is the communication process before, during, and after the project?
Projecting Planning and Budgeting
Receiving an accurate and reasonable quote depends on having a detailed plan. There are no shortcuts to estimating. A contractor who is vague about details and insists on quickly providing a back-of-the-envelope quote short on specifics will be making excuses and looking for more money later, guaranteed.
Here are some questions you should ask about planning and budgeting:
How do you budget a project?
Is your project based on fixed-price or time-and-material?
What are the risks of this project?
What is your change-order process?
A reliable, professional firm will have a process-based, disciplined approach to estimating that yields accurate, reliable quotes to help you avoid unpleasant surprises after the project starts.
The right construction firm will have the staff on hand to work closely with you on every phase of your renovation project planning, including design, materials, labor, appliances, and fixtures so that you will have a detailed picture of all expenses.
A good contractor works on a regular basis with suppliers who align with the contractor’s work culture and goals to ensure that materials are received on time and on budget. Proper planning establishes timelines for every phase of the project and the materials and other resources needed for them. That way, there are no surprises, and the project moves forward efficiently and on schedule.
Clear and timely communications are absolutely essential for a successful project. It not only helps maintain a good relationship and understanding between you and your contractor, but it also shows respect for you and your time.
When you are kept in the loop you can plan household activities more effectively to work within project constraints and help avoid undue disruption. Good communication also minimizes anxiety and frustration for both parties, helping to further strengthen the relationship.
Choosing the Right Home Renovation Company
Choosing the right contractor is all about trust and establishing a good relationship with a construction partner who is committed to ensuring your renovation project succeeds beyond your expectations.
Renovation projects – especially major ones – can be fraught with emotional and financial anxiety. Is the investment you are making to significantly improve your home going to pay off? Will it make your home more attractive and functional? Will it make your life easier?
A good contractor will help you manage your home renovation anxieties and provide you with a positive experience coupled with a deeply satisfying payoff at the end as your dreams become a reality.