Five Traits of Top Remodelers

In our last blog, we discussed five reasons why remodeling projects fail in order to understand how a dream renovation turns into a nightmare experience.  The obvious next question is how do we avoid hiring a contractor who will lead us down an expensive and stressful path? We’ve thought through the common traits of top remodelers and why these traits allow them to have successful renovations.  If you’re in the process of interviewing contractors for your kitchen or bathroom renovation, you’ll want to make sure they possess all of these traits. 

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1 . Great Reputation

The reputation of your contractor says the most about what your experience with them will be like. People are quick to share horror stories, so if you’re contractor is known for nightmare remodels, the internet and word of mouth will share.  On the opposite end, people are less likely to share good, but not particularly great experiences.  Think about the last time you left a review for a restaurant, retail store, or anyone you’ve done business with?  Leaving a review normally gets forgotten unless your experience was so overwhelmingly positive that you are compelled to make time to let others know.  If your contractor has tons of positive reviews, that means that their customer experience is positive enough to make it a priority to leave a review and let others know.  Your contractor should have lots of detailed reviews on multiple social media sites.  The reviews should be at least within the past few months and should be consistently posted every few months as you read back over their history.  The reviews should also have a detailed experiences as very general reviews are often paid or fake reviews.  Finally, a company should have very few bad reviews.  While you can’t please everyone, bad reviews should be infrequent and should be followed up with a response from the owner explaining their side or offering to keep working with the client.    

2 . Professional presentation

Your contractor should have a professional, clean appearance with every interaction. They should have a well-designed website that is easy to navigate and gives you clear information about the company.  It should explain their planning process, have a robust portfolio, explain their primary services, and have helpful resources like blogs or visualizers.  The employees you meet with should be well dressed, well spoken, and make you feel comfortable and confident in their knowledge of design and construction.  Finally, they should have a showroom where you are able to view material samples and 3-D visualizer of your new kitchen or bathroom renovation. 

3 . Realistic Budget Discussion

Top contractors are not afraid to talk budget. In fact, you want to work with a contractor who keeps budget at the forefront, so they can guide your design and layout choices towards the budget you’d like to target.  Your contractor should spend your initial meetings understanding your budget constraints and your vision for the project.   They should then let you know whether your budget is appropriate for your wants and recommend ways to reach your desired budget if your expectation be unrealistic.  Top remodelers know whether a client is spending 10K or 100K, they will always want more than what their budget allows.  They should be willing to work with you to achieve your budget goals, and likewise, you should be willing to take scope and material feedback.  Finally, top contractors aren’t afraid to tell you when your budget goals are unrealistic and should not move into a design phase with you unless agree on the target budget, material limitation and design constraints.       

4 . Full time field teams and office staff

Top contractors have grown to the point where they no longer need to rely on subcontractors and have an office staff and design team to support their clients before, during and after their renovations. Full time field teams and project managers ensure you’ll have an organized and efficient construction experience as these workers are hourly or salary and fully committed to their company vs. a subcontractor who’s looking to maximize profit.  On the office side, full time design, ordering, and customer service teams ensures you’ll have a pleasant experience during the renovation and won’t have to worry about anything.

5 . Detailed planning phase and contract

Your contractor should prioritize planning as lack of planning is one of the biggest reasons remodels fail. Top contractors do not rush you to sign a contract and get started.  They take the time to meet with you and understand your project goals.  They talk through every aspect of the project’s scope of work, materials, and layout.  They talk budgeting upfront, but don’t provide your final cost estimate until after you’ve selected all finishing materials and approved layouts to ensure their estimate is your actual end cost.  Finally, you should have a contract that details everything your contractor will do during the project, lays out your anticipated construction time, recaps your approved materials and designs, and details your payment progression.  Your contract should also include information about what happens if you change your mind about something, have a scope disagreement, face a change order, and all the little details that may arise during construction.  You should go into construction having a clear expectation for what you’re purchasing and what construction is going to look like every day.

If your contractor has these traits, you can expect a smooth remodel.  Contractors can’t achieve these five traits without years of experience and growth which leads them to becoming the top remodelers in their industry.  While you might save money taking a chance on a new or small contractor, major kitchen and bathroom renovations should be completed with a top company that will give you a solid construction, smooth experience and peace of mind.  If you’d like to see if Mayflower has these five qualities, give us a call and test us out.  You won’t be disappointed!  


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