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How to Choose a Professional Contractor

Don't have a contractor horror story.

 

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Reputation, Experience, and Service. With this information you will be equipped with all of the knowledge you need before inviting a contractor to renovate your largest asset -- your home.

Fill out this form to get a downloadable pdf to take with you as a free eBook.

(Or scroll down to see the full book!)

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READY TO REMODEL?


So you’ve decided that the best decision is to renovate your home so it will meet your needs. Now you need to figure out who is going to do the work for you. Hiring the right home remodeling contractor can make the difference between a successful project and a disaster. While it can take time to find a contractor who is the right fit for you, it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Our guide will walk you through the steps of finding a reputable contractor, so when it is time to start your project, you feel confident and excited about the changes to come. Let’s get started!

PLAN - YOUR IDEAS & BUDGET

Before the first nail is ever hammered, you should solidify what you’re looking for in your remodel. Make your dream list: a play room, walk-in pantry, curbless shower and separate tub, heated floors, covered porch. When you are in the early meeting stages, it will be important to share your idea boards, material swatches, and appliance needs. These elements can greatly inspire and affect how the new space is designed. Also, be prepared to have a budget discussion. A reputable remodeling contractor should design and build to your budget, and be clear about the options that will fit within, or exceed, the overall financial plan. This guide will help you stay focused on three areas when qualifying a remodeling contractor:

1. BUSINESS HISTORY & CLIENT REVIEWS

2. BUSINESS PRACTICES & THE TEAM

3. SERVICE EXPECTATIONS BEFORE, DURING & AFTER YOUR PROJECT

 

We will help you with questions to ask and steps to take along the way to make sure your renovation project runs smoothly and without surprises.

1. BUSINESS HISTORY & CLIENT REVIEWS

It goes without saying that you want to entrust your renovation to a contractor who has made many homeowners happy, over many years. This is a large investment, and you want to work with a company that you can entrust with your home and belongings. A credible remodeling contractor will be upfront with their past experience, which can be checked with the Better Business Bureau and your state’s Consumer Protection Board. The contractor will also be happy to show client reviews and project photographs on their website and social media accounts. Tilghman Builders prides ourselves on the ability to not only provide endless examples from clients old and new, but also on our keen eye to the details, commonly overlooked by other contractors 

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

• Investigate their state registrations and commercial records

• Look for industry affiliations, awards, and certifications

• Go through references and testimonials

•Review their portfolio of completed projects

• Check their social media profiles and mentions for notes on customer service and experience Tilghman Builders is proud to be associated with:

 

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2. BUSINESS PRACTICES & THE TEAM

You will be working very closely with your contractor, so it is important to understand the team that will be making your remodel happen. Who will the project manager be, and how many craftsman can you expect to work on your project on a daily basis? Will there be subcontractors, and how are they vetted?

Also, when the contractor provides an estimate they should also include a timeline for the project and a communication plan. How often will you meet with them during the build? How are change orders handled? What is the payment plan? How is the project wrapped up at completion?

Timeline for a remodel can vary depending on the contractor. Beware of those promising to do it in a very short time-span! A reputable contractor knows that quality work takes time and builds in a cushion to the timeline to allow for any surprises. When working with a reputable contractor, they will handle the necessary steps for codes and permits, and this should be accounted for in the timeline and scope of work.

Your remodeler should make the project easy and hassle-free, eliminate surprises and keep the project on a schedule and on your budget, while delivering superior workmanship and quality. 

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3. SERVICE EXPECTATIONS

After choosing your contractor you should continue to check their performance and workmanship. Proactive engagement in the process will help you understand the work being performed. If you identify any issues or areas of concern while work is being done it is important to voice them immediately. Here we go over what to look for to adequately monitor service. What should you expect from your contractor’s customer service? If your agreement is unclear or if you’re concerned about the project, use this project breakdown: 

 

BEFORE

  • Is the sales process high pressure? Often untrustworthy contractors want you to sign a contingency agreement.

 

DURING

  • Are you able to reach them if you need questions answered? You should have a designated point of contact.
  • Can you expect their team to take the steps to protect your home and personal belongings?
  • What happens if there is damage to other parts of my home or my belongings during the project? Good contractors should avoid severe damage to the premises and make any necessary repairs.
  • Does the crew explain why they are doing something? Team members should be able to show you progress, even with photo documentation. Further, they should not hesitate to explain their decision-making process.
  • Will they clean up after work is complete? The project and materials should stay in order and be organized from the beginning.

 

AFTER

  • What is response time to an issue? After a project is complete the response time still should be 24 hours.
  • If there ever is a problem, what am I covered for? A good contractor will cover any loss you experience due to failure of their workmanship or materials.
  • Have you ever repaired a project that was out of warranty? Workmanship warranties may vary

 

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YOUR GUIDE: QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Will you provide a detailed breakdown of the services to be completed on my home?
  • Can you provide me with a reference list with at least 10 of your past customers ?
  • How often do you meet with homeowners to review job progress?
  • Will you provide me your warranty in writing?
  • Have you ever repaired a project that was out of warranty?
  • Who will be responsible for the supervision of my project?
  • What screening procedures do you use to hire your employees?
  • Do you have a written policy regarding drugs and alcohol by your crews working on my home?
  • Are all of your subcontractors required to sign a standard operation performance agreement and carry all insurances required by the State of Pennsylvania? 10
  • Are you registered with the State of Pennsylvania Department of Consumer Protection Board as a home improvement contractor and will you provide us with your registration number?
  • Will you disclose all legal entities that they have been an owner, shareholder, or partner who has been a home improvement contractor?
  • Can you supply a copy of your current insurance certificate?
  • Are you a Member of National Association of Remodeling Industry in Pennsylvania?
  • What industry recognized designations or certifications do you hold?
  • Are you certified in Lead Safe Work Practices as required by Federal Law as of April 22, 2010?
  • Can you provide a copy of your business registration or articles of incorporation for your current company? This is proof of how long they have been in business under this name.

 

 ABOUT TILGHMAN BUILDERS

For more than 35 years, we have helped homeowners in Montgomery County and Bucks County, Pennsylvania realize their dreams. We listen to your vision and create living areas that are built to reflect your lifestyle and personality. Our clients are delighted with our work, recommending our services to their family and friends. Our workmanship is of the highest quality. Our highly trained and experienced craftsmen, who provide a "white glove treatment" to our clients, are certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). We value our word and our commitments to your home. We communicate closely with you throughout our structured Design-Build process and deliver projects on time and on budget.

Tilghman Builders Professional Contractors in Pennsylvania

 

MAKE YOUR HOME YOUR DREAM

Not all contractors are created equal. Unfortunately, it has become the norm to cut prices along with quality of workmanship. Prior research, planning and monitoring will give you piece of mind knowing you chose the right contractor. We at Tilghman Builders continually sets a high standard for the industry through the relationships we build with our clients, while we’re building their dream home. We hope that you will use these tips and questions to choose the best possible remodeling contractor for your project. You can start the process with our complimentary consultation:

 

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Need additional information? We're happy to help!