Regardless of whether you live in Milwaukee or elsewhere when deciding on a renovation project for your home you will need to make a few checks before you start.
Check to make sure that your contractor is experienced and qualified. The first questions you should be asking should revolve around references. When a relative stranger is going to make changes to your home, you want to be sure that they will do a good job. Ask about previous projects and the scope of the projects. You’re not going to ask a bathroom tiler to replace the electrics in your home.
Be thorough. While a contractor may be good at one job, there are very few contractors that don’t have crossover skills. A good tiler, is likely to also have experience plastering walls and possibly even installing new doors, doorways and lintels. Ask in detail what the contractor can do. The objective isn’t to find out what they can do, but rather what their limitations are. Once you’re aware of these, you will be able to establish how many contractors are going to be needed for your renovation project.
You want your renovation project to run smoothly. For this to happen you’ll need to be sure that there is an enforceable contract in place. Responsibilities should be clearly outlined and a reasonable time scale agreed on for the work to be completed Your contractor will be responsible for obtaining the necessary permits. Make sure that they are aware of this. In the planning stages make a check list, so that you don’t forget anything when exploring which contractor to appoint.
The scope of the job
Every industry suffers from a phenomenon called scope creep. When a contractor changes a wall plug they may discover a fault in the wiring which leads them to discover that the main electric box isn’t wired correctly. See how quickly a replaced wall plug can suddenly become a rewiring job? Establish a budget and a contingency fund for unseen extras. Some renovations projects can become so big, you may as well build a new house. What you really want is a new house at the cost of renovation.
Good contractors are well connected. When there is a renovation job that requires multiple skills, your contractor will almost certainly be part of a wider network of specialists. Plumbers, electricians and general builders move and work in the same circles. If a contractor comes recommended to you, ask them about other contractors. Referrals from within the trade are invaluable, these will make getting the larger projects completed with fewer snags
Remember too that experienced contractors are likely to know the city officials that deal with permits and may have established relationships with them. When this is the case, it is a reflection of a contractor that you can trust.
In Milwaukee, you will be able to check on the reputation of your contractor by checking with NARI, the national association of the Remodeling industry. It only takes a phone call to check up and will offer you peace of mind.