Choosing the Right Remodeler

by Christian D. Malesic, MBA, CAE, CMP, IOM

Finding the remodeler for you is not as simple as looking through the phone book or picking up the classifieds. On a big project, you may be working closely with this individual for several months, so you want to do everything possible to ensure you make the right decision. After all, they will be working on YOUR home!

Where Should You Start?
Professional trade organizations such as the Remodelers Council or the Home Builders Association (HBA) are the best places to begin your search. The criteria for membership in these associations are stringent; therefore, only the most professional and ethical remodelers become members. Call your local HBA to ask for a "list of all remodeler members with their phone numbers" or check out the association's web site. To begin your search, if you don't know where to start, you can go to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) web site and select "Find Local Association" which is usually found in the upper right-hand corner.

Large or Small?
Just because a company is large enough to spend a lot of money on advertising, doesn't mean that they have quality service or are proficient at the trades. On the other hand, smaller companies are not necessarily more detail-oriented just because they have fewer customers. There are good large companies and good small companies. You must determine which is right for you. As a rule, remodelers who are constantly improving themselves and their businesses through continual education, training, and networking often make the best remodelers (and their businesses come in all sizes).

What Questions Should You Ask?
When you discuss what you'd like to do, does the remodeler show enthusiasm for your ideas and suggest ways to make them work better? Is customer service emphasized? Will they work within your budget constraints? Do they seem organized when you discuss the job with them? Are their business materials neat, professional, and complete (business cards, flyers, etc.)? Do they carry insurance to protect you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Do they offer a warranty? Will they arrange for the builder's permit? Do they specialize in particular types of projects?

How Do You Choose?
You probably have a budget already in mind and know how much you are willing to pay. DO NOT LET PRICE be the main reason you choose one remodeler over another. Often the lowest bidder is cutting corners somewhere they shouldn't. Would you want the lowest paid doctor operating on your child?... or the cheapest lawyer defending you in court? Make your choice based on service, knowledge, ability, and communication; not based solely on price.

When you hire a remodeler, you are buying a service rather than a product. The quality of service the remodeler provides will determine the quality of the finished product and your satisfaction with it. Only choose a remodeler who returns your phone calls, answers your questions, and has a trustworthy reputation.

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, CAE, CMP, IOM provides insight on nonprofit management, executive decision-making, business operations, personal finance, marketing, construction issues, and occasionally, on political philosophy / history. To see more by Christian, visit or to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Parler @CDMalesic or on Twitter @CDMalesic.

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