A bathroom renovation project generally costs between $3,000 and $12,000, depending on the scope of the job. But no matter how much you're investing in this remodel, hiring the ideal contractor is a necessity. Learn how to gather quotes from several local companies, as well as how to compare those quotes and choose the contractor that will make your renovation dreams come true.
Three Factors to Determine
It helps to determine these three important factors before speaking to contractors:
- Use - Think about how you will use the new bathroom. Will it be for guests or the whole family? Will this room be used for full bathing or simple clean ups? And how will traffic move in the space? Make a list of the must-haves or gather pictures of layouts that appeal to you.
- Existing Condition - Examine whether or not you can reuse some of the existing fixtures in the bathroom. Remodeling the walls and floors without replacing the fixtures will reduce your renovation budget, but a full-scale remodel often requires fixture replacement. Although your contractor will confirm the possibilities after close inspection, it helps to set out your expectations ahead of time.
- Budget - Home improvement costs depend on the work involved, but it can help to set your budget up front. Decide on a range or maximum and be ready to communicate that figure to the contractors.
What To Say to Potential Contractors
Decide on these three factors and call several local contractors, usually three or four. Ask your friends and family for recommendations, look on the web and in any local directories, and check with nearby construction associations. Many solid, reputable companies rely on word of mouth advertising, rather than flashy marketing campaigns. Gathering referrals from others who have tackled bathroom renovations makes the most sense.
Present each of the contractors with the same information in straightforward detail. Include these important specifics:
- Is this a bathroom remodel or bathroom renovation? Remodel projects are more like a facelift, using most of the existing structure, but replacing the finish and fixtures to create a fresh space. Bathroom renovations, on the other hand, could involve structural changes and plumbing alterations. Creating a new bathroom in your basement or building an ensuite would be considered a renovation project, whereas updating your existing family bath is classified as a remodel.
- Do you have a specific timeframe in mind? Some contractors book up far in advance and cannot accommodate rush jobs. Others may have projects scheduled for months down the road, and need to fill up the immediate schedule. Be up front about your needs and expectations in order to avoid wasting time.
- Have you applied for building permits? Let the contractor know this ahead of time, allowing them to accurately gauge the details and scope of your project. Building permits are not required for all projects and many contractors will handle the application process for you.
- Do you have a detailed drawing or blueprint available? Do you need the contractor to help with that aspect? Many contractors will ask to have a look at the detailed drawings before visiting the site, in order to get an idea about the work involved in your project.
Arrange a time for the contractor to meet you at the site. You will need at least one hour for this appointment.
Go over the project in more details at that point and be prepared to answer the contractor's questions. It also helps to have a list of your own. Record the answers to each of these questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you supply a list of local, recently completed references?
- Who will be handling the work? Does your firm subcontract to another firm?
- Can you offer proof of insurance and any applicable licenses?
- Does your work and/or materials come with a warranty?
- How long will it take to prepare and deliver the quote?
- How long will it take to complete the project?
It's also a good idea to make note of any concerns the contractors bring up. Have they commented on the condition of your fixtures? Did they spot any water damage or plumbing issues? An experienced contractor will discuss the details, using their perspective and expertise to uncover potential issues before the project starts. A contractor who paints a pretty picture may not have looked close enough or might lack adequate experience to recognize the inevitable challenges.
You should collect at least three quotations for your bathroom renovation project. Compare each of these quotes based on the following qualities:
- Price - It isn't called the bottom line for nothing. Start by comparing costs and making note of any major discrepancies. If one quote is well below the others, try to pinpoint aspects the contractor may have missed. Any that come in high above the others could include extras you may or may not want. Look for any extras offered, such as inclusions otherwise omitted. Some contractors leave permit fees and delivery charges out of their original quote, only to surprise the customer with those charges during the final billing.
- Scope of Work - Be sure that all three quotes cover the work required. Ask for clarification on vague specifications and check that all of the contractors are quoting on similar details.
- Warranty - Make sure the warranty details are covered in the quote or available from the contractor. If manufacturer warranties apply to materials, get your hands on those details through the manufacturer websites.
The process of gathering and comparing quotes for home improvements can be lengthy and exhausting. Plan it out and follow through quickly to get your bathroom renovation project moving forward. Know what you want before calling several contractors, ask the right questions and compare the submitted quotations with a watchful eye. Choosing the right contractor will result in a more valuable improvement, and the process is worth your time.Posted by: TrustedPros