Post details: Finding the Help You Need - Part 2


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Finding the Help You Need - Part 2

Six-Point Hiring Test

The phone book is full of design and construction firms. The trick is finding the ones that fit your project -- and you as client. Zero in on professionals who pass this six-point test:

- They are experienced in remodeling the rooms in your plan. How long have they been in business? How long have they been doing the type of work you want?
- Their references are good. Call references and ask questions about communication, workmanship, reliability, and responsiveness.
- They have the required credentials. In most areas, contractors must be licensed.
- You like their work. Look at pictures. Visit recent jobs comparable to your planned project to assess design and craftsmanship. Visit not-so-recent projects to see how they've held up.
- You trust them. It's essential to have a contract specifying exactly what will be done, the payment schedule, starting date, target completion date, warranties, dispute resolution procedures, and so on. But you should also feel as though you could trust the person with just a handshake.
- They "click" with you on a gut level. Don't underestimate your gut feeling. You have to have open, comfortable communication with the people remaking your house.

Reference Checklist

To avoid facing "Why-didn't-I-ask-that?" remorse, take this list with you when you meet the references provided by your prospective contractors or designers.

- Were there any surprise costs?
- Was the professional flexible?
- Was he or she willing to make changes as the project went along?
- Were subcontractors or crew members pleasant to do business with?
- Were your needs and wants taken into consideration, or were they simply glossed over because the pro considered him- or herself the expert?
- Was the paperwork in order?
- Are records complete?
- Did you have any problems after your remodeling project was complete? Was the person quick to fix them?

Your Important Role

Once your team is in place, you can't just get out of the way. After all, it's your house and your money. It's up to you to make sure everything goes the way you want it to.

Before any work begins, hold a pre-construction meeting and make sure all the key players attend. This is the time to go over the plans and schedule, clarify who's doing what, and establish rules, such as use of your phone, bathrooms, and driveway. Once construction begins, meet with your designer and builder regularly to review progress.

As the project goes along, voice questions and concerns right away. Don't become intimidated; although your professional team brings valuable expertise to the job, the final decisions should always be yours.

Better Homes and Gardens



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