Dealing with Home Remodeling Contractors

Remodeling contractor

For the big remodeling jobs it is best to get the opinion of several home remodeling contractors. With their experience in many types of home renovation they will bring in designs and material types to show you what can be done.

Remodeling contractors perform many functions that single trades like carpenters cannot do. They are the generals of the project, overseeing every part of it until completion. This includes hiring the subtrades, getting the proper permits and supervising the onsite operation. Many people try to do this themselves but end up mired in problems that no one trade can fix. Here is the order in which a renovation contractor will complete the job.

Meeting With the Homeowner

Working up an estimate takes hours of work and so remodeling contractors will meet with the homeowners to see of they are the right company for the project. For example, A homeowner may want a “bathroom remodel” and what they really want done is the sink and toilet replaced. Well this is a job for a handyman. Conversely, another homeowner may actually want a new shower/tub put in the bathroom and what they really need is a carpenter for the installation and a plumber for the pipe work. So it is important for remodeling contractors to size up the job before spending the time on an estimate.

The Estimate

Because many projects are based on timing remodeling contractors almost have to think in three-dimensional terms. For example, if the homeowner needs a brand new kitchen done within a certain timeframe like “before Christmas,” and it's already October 1st, the renovation contractor will have to make sure that he or she can get schedule the work force to fit within this parameter. If the plumber and electrician are really busy they may charge more for their services because, in some cases, they might have to pay their workers overtime. This will add to the estimate. In addition, materials play a large part in the pricing. For example, in the 1990's each hurricane that ravaged Florida drove the price up plywood and framing studs in Canada considerably.

As the contractor is the supervisor he or she may not actually participate in the work but tacks on a commission for putting the project together. In other word if the bathroom remodel comes to $10,000 he or she may add on $1,500, or 15%, to see that the entire project is complete. When you consider a homeowner's time and lack of expertise in putting the project together a 15% add-on is is a bargain. However, in most cases this will be included in the total price.

The Contract

Contracts are absolutely essential in business and entering into an agreement with remodeling contractors is no different. Not only is a written contract a binding legal agreement with your contractor it details both the rights and responsibilities to ensure the parameters of project. The contract also safeguards the homeowner from financial or personal loss for bad workmanship or on-site injury during the project. The adage, “Good fences make good neighbours” applies to contracts as well as it provides a framework for a good working relationship. When everything is spelled out there is little chance of confusion between parties.

Foundations of a Good Contract

      1. Names, addresses and detailed contact information

      2. Contract Documents: This includes the contract, plans, specifications and any other documents pertinent to the project.

      3. Description of Work: This explains the entire job. It also includes: what the job entails: what it doesn't; permit information; subtrade information; and materials acquisition.

      4. Timing: In this section the start and end dates are itemized, along with penalties for being late, if any.

      5. Terms of Payment: This will include the full price of the project and how it will be paid.

      6. Payment Plan: Not all jobs are “turn-key,” which means the full amount gets paid at the end of the project. In most large projects there is a deposit and draws of money along the way. This may include a 10% holdback to make sure the renovation contractors return to finish any uncompleted work.

      7. Changes: A change in an agreement may change the scheduling and cost. This includes additions and upgrading to better materials.

      8. Utilities and Washroom Facilities: Will remodeling contractors bring in portable toilets or can the workers use bathrooms in the homes? Will the homeowner supply electricity? These are some of the questions that need to be addressed.

      9. Standards of Work: Here remodeling contractors guarantee good workmanship and this can be itemized.

      10. Warranty: Every contractor should give a warranty to fix defects caused by workmanship. Material defects may have to be adjusted by the manufacturer.

      11. Insurance: Usually the contractor will have to have a $1,000,000 bond against claims for damage or personal injury and show proof that his or her own workers are covered against personal injury on the job.

    These are the main clauses for a successful contract. However, both parties can add whatever addendums they want.

    For more information on remodeling contractors consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your project online at and one or more will contract you.

    Posted by: TrustedPros
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