UPDATE: This has been one of our most popular posts and we've updated it with new information. Check it out.
Whether a single space or a complete home, remodeling any place isn't ever all that easy. There are many and numerous decisions that need to be made.
And we should know. With more than 30 years of experience, we have assisted clients in making the right decisions and getting everything on a firm foundation to begin with.
First of all,there are all those pesky decisions that need to be made and questions to be answered.
- What style and color?
- How much should this cost?
- Will it be worth the investment over time?
- How much of a disruption will there be in your life?
But just as important a design decision is assembling your design team and that means hiring the contractor for the project. Many clients we work with have great apprehensions about that part of the project and with good reason. It isn't always easy to find the right mix of personality, workmanship, business ethics and reliability no matter the field or profession including the profession of general contracting. Sometimes it is a gut reaction about how they presented themselves or the work they have done in the past. After all, good client referrals should be an important deciding factor.
But there are other ways to help make such important decisions and to make sure the relationship you build doesn't fall apart in the middle of the work.
Here are some tips we wanted to share.
#1 Make all the design decisions that you can up front. Decide all the things you hope for before you bring in the contractor,... even the little details. Make a wish list of the things you'd "like to have" but are not able to commit to because you don't have all the information you need. And if you don't have a clue at all about what might be possible, that is where we come in as your designers.
#2 Request that contracting bids be submitted in writing with all the details and terms clearly explained. And of course, that would lead to having a written contract with a timeline, payment schedule and how changes to the work will be handled.
#3 Request the names of past clients who would be willing to let you see the work they have completed in the recent past. That way you will be able to see the "fit and finish" of the work they have done.
#4 Before you sign on that dotted line, verify the license and make sure it is in good standing by visiting your state's governing license board. In California, it is called: Contractors State License Board(CSLB) and you get get more information by going online to: www.cslb.ca.gov - or - calling (1) 800-321-2752.
#5 Ask whether your contractor carries general liability insurance and worker's compensation for any directly hired employees. Call your homeowner's insurance agent to ensure you are covered should some unforeseen circumstance occur such as water damage due to a broken pipe.
#6 You might try to research your contractor's name online for additional reviews but you should also consider the source. We have found that some referral sites are not as "accurate" as others so check more than one.
#7 Any contractor performing $500 worth or work or more ( including materials and labor ) must be licensed by the CSLB to work in California. Also, contractors cannot ask for a deposit of more than 10% of the total cost of the job or $1,000 at the inception of the project.
#8 Find out directly from your local building department whether your project needs a building permit and confirm that your contractor will obtain all necessary permits.
By following these tips and tricks, the decisions that you need to make will lay the foundation for a better remodeling project. If you have questions or other concerns, you can post your comments below. Or just give us a call and we'll do our best to start you out in the right direction. (760) 322-3784
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.