I recently visited my friend John in Florida, who had an Ocala home remodeling job completed. The workmanship, style and finishes, including the stainless steel appliances, looked amazing. So I wondered about the criteria he had used to select the right home improvement contractor.
John told me that choosing the right builder for home improvement was an interesting blend of science, diplomacy, and luck. He added that the success of his home improvement project depended heavily on his ability to communicate and work effectively with his builder. The science part, he added, was his ability to use the internet to search for builders. And he was lucky that the contractor he selected could fit his project into his busy calendar. Choosing the right builder meant the difference between success and a disastrous experience that could have ruined him financially.
Below are the top three criteria John shared about selecting the right builder for his Ocala home improvement job:
Experience: John wanted a builder whose reputation for quality and workmanship was second to none. His builder needed experience with Ocala’s building codes so the construction schedule would not face delays for code violations. In other words, he was not willing to offer on-the-job training for any builder.
John said his architect and the builder he selected had worked on several Ocala remodeling projects in the past. This made the work easier on everyone. Any changes in the home improvement design required by the Planning Department were easily incorporated into his plans without major delays.
John’s builder was also instrumental in selecting both rough and finish materials, which saved money. His builder’s experience in finding quality material at lower prices not only saved John money during construction, but helped him avoid costly repairs later on. John’s builder helped him choose appliances that are both beautiful and long-lasting.
References: John’s builder provided him with more than six references that he was able to interview, both over the phone and in person. He developed specific questions to ask these references regarding cost, scheduling, and the builder.
Price: John’s final criterion for selecting a builder was price. His rationale in using price as the last selection criterion was that he was not interested in the lowest bidders. He explained that too often, the lowest bidders are only interested in getting the job but not finishing it. These builders routinely find ways to increase the cost of home improvement work by creating excuses about changes they did not anticipate.
It was great to see John so happy with his remodeled Ocala home. I am now tempted to remodel our house as well. The nice thing is that I already know how to screen for the right builder.