How to Choose a Home Renovation Company
Go both with you Gut feeling and a Checklist
How to find a Home Renovation Company
Now that you’ve decided to take on a Home Renovation, it has become time to find the perfect Home Renovation Company for you. Undoubtedly taking on a major home renovation can be both a rewarding and stressful experience and its success is determined by a myriad of unique factors. You can choose the greatest designer, the most reputable engineer or even the most renown architect, but most will admit that a reputable, service oriented and experienced home renovation company that fits your needs will make the difference.
In this Blog, we will elaborate on the process of choosing the home renovation company most appropriate for you.
How hard is it to find home renovation company?
In the Greater Toronto Area, there are thousands of home renovation companies, from the one man show to large companies. The struggle is to find the most appropriate one based on your individual needs.
Is there a list of home renovation contractors near me?
Finding and selecting a home renovation company would be a lot easier if you could get a shortlist (3-5) of reputable, local companies that are experienced, affordable, and available to do your project. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist. Although you can go online and sift through a long list of contractors in your area, you won’t know anything about their quality, service, costs, reputation, etc.
Since there is no good list of “good home renovation companies” out there, there are a few things you need to know in order to track down a reputable company. Let’s start with some things you need to be aware of.
In our blogs, we like to start off by giving some personal reflections to shed some light on what some see as the illusive adventure of home renovation. What you may ask is the secret, what makes the true difference… well it can be summed up quite simply, and this is the “Interview.” Quite candidly the interview is happening at the initial meeting when both the homeowner and the home renovation company are interviewing each other to understand in there is chemistry and in essence to see if they can work together. When choosing a home renovation company, see this interview as a relevant and tangible part of the process. Try to focus in on it and enter the whole selection process with the intention of understanding whether the home renovation company is an organization you can work with. You can call it “chemistry” or likability but make the conscious effort to understand it. There are some factors to focus on that may include presentation, punctuality, tact, expectations, language barriers, information availability, budget description and for me… Gut Feeling!
The process for choosing a home renovation company varies typically on the scope of work of the job… ie the greater the scope, the more involved the sales process. At Atlas Renovations, our typical sales process starts with an initial consultation, where what is happening is that feel out stage. This feeling out stage is very simply determining if the homeowner and the home renovation company can work together. In the interview, trust your Gut Feeling. All home renovation companies have their own way of doing business, and each style can work differently for everyone.
Once you have understood your gut feeling, you can go on to the next stages of finding a home renovation company which can be done through a checklist. The next stages involve many factors, and we will go through them here in this blog….
Let’s rewind a bit here… There is a specific reason we started out talking first about the “Feel Out Stage” and then the “checklist”. We have seen that many homeowners have a checklist and follow the checklist like the Holy Grail. However, and after being involved in numerous projects, we at Atlas Renovations have seen that the homeowner should go into the project with some emphasis on the feeling you get from the home renovation company. This in some cases can be ignored and the homeowner will rely solely on checklists… being reviews, a snazzy website, a good sales pitch for example, but always remember, you will be establishing a relationship here, one that can last as much as 2 years in some cases and the ability to work together can be paramount when big money is at stake.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get in to the meat of the process.
Make sure to be working with a home renovation company that has a solid reputation in the industry. How can we check for reputation? Try to use a home renovation company referred to you from either friends of family. Check the company’s reviews, go online and do some research. When you meet with the home renovation company, try to talk to the owner of the company. There is nothing wrong with meeting with a salesman or project manager, but you should be able to speak to the owner of the company before you hire. This factor also depends on you and your budget. The larger the company, typically the more professional the company, and the more employees they will have.
So keep that in mind. One man shows, are more communicative, but less specialized. They might take more time to complete the project but they will be available for more relationship based management.
Years in Business
Make sure the to find a home renovation company that’s been in business for at least 3 years. You can also check to see if the owner is affiliated with other companies that were previously closed. If so, check the reviews of these companies. Be wary of any company that feels like they just opened their doors. There are ways to determine this. Check their reviews, check for postings in social media, ask for references, ask for examples of work, and most importantly, go with your instinct. There is nothing wrong with using a new company, as long as they have the experience. For instance, the owner could have worked in renovations for many years as an employee and have just decided to go for it on their own. Just be sure to understand their motive and yours.
When it comes to hiring a home renovation company, it’s best to go with someone with a lot of years of experience. A home renovation company that has been in the business for a long time will have better relationships with suppliers, contractors, and sub-contractors, and you can bet that this will affect the outcome of the work they do for you. By selecting a company that has been renovating homes for a long time, you will have the advantage of being able to find out how their work still stands the test of time. You will also benefit from a company that has an experienced construction manager, as this is a role that can have a positive impact on your home renovation. A renovator that is experienced will be able to anticipate and respond to any setbacks that might come up during the renovation process. And finally, an experienced renovator is more likely to have done the work that you specifically need and can therefore reliably promise great results.
Ask for References
Ask for references and call them. People are generally truthful about their experience and won’t give you a glowing reference if the contractor did a poor job. Ask them how their contractor handled issues during the project – this is an excellent way to distinguish the good from the bad contractors.
Don’t be surprised if they won’t give you references in their first meeting. This actually is a sign or self respect. Contractors who have been around for a long time will share their references when the homeowner has shown serious interest in working with that home renovation company. Contractors typically defend their customers privacy and will shy away from having former customers hounded by new clients.
However, once you have shown interest, don’t be shy, ask for 3 references for similar jobs such as yours. Call them, ask them similar questions with the idea to gauge the efficacy of the quality of work.
Check Online Reviews
You can assume not all good reviews are legitimate, but bad reviews likely are. Contractors are not perfect and a small number of reviews about ‘missing an appointment’ are not uncommon, but if you see more than a couple of negative reviews about communication or quality of work, that’s a red flag.
Spend some time with the contractor over several meetings. Although they will be on their best behavior because they are trying to sell you on their services, spending an extended period of time with them will give you insights into their personality. Try also to meet them on their job sites, use these meetings to understand their construction process. For instance, do they use subcontractors or have employees, do they use Excel or Gantt charts to outline the work process, understand the finishing materials they are going to use on the project. Try to learn as much as you can about the company and their reputation.
Check Social Media Presence
Be sure to check their social media presence. In today’s world, the typical home renovation company will advertise or drive their brand through the use of various social media networks. Firstly, check their website to find their social media outlets. Find them and have some fun to check out their posts, the comments to their posts. In addition, check their actual photos… is this the style you are looking for? Do you get ideas from their posts? Do they have a brand? Do they stand for something? What is the feeling you get from their posts?
This can give you a real sense of the company and how they do business.
Keep track of their responsiveness. Although contractors are very busy right now and can’t always respond right away, someone that responds in 3 days is certainly better than someone that takes 2 weeks to get back to you. Every contractor has a different model when it comes to communication. Communication is key, and many projects have failed due to lack of communication. Ask them how they prefer to communicate, whether by e-mail, by SMS, by phone, through their associate or project manager. Try to work within this communication method and hold accountable the person to whom has been given responsibility of your project.
Strong Relationships with Suppliers & Subcontractors
It takes more than one person to create a dream renovation. Your ideal home renovation company has ties to a number of suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors. Professional relationships in the construction business are forged over years of working together. Your home renovation contractor knows where the best tiles and fixtures come from, and more so, the best products for YOU!. Your home renovation contractor will know who the best electricians and architects are, and who they can count on to get the most reliable equipment, they will have this readily available to you and will not shy away from sharing this information with you. An established home renovation company will stake its reputation on the relationships they have developed over the years. It’s not enough to want to work with someone because they have a great reputation. Your home renovation company knows someone is right for the job because they’ve worked with them many times before and know firsthand that they’re as good as they say they are. Professional credibility doesn’t just happen overnight it is something that is built through years of working in the trenches and can be relied on to get you to the finish line.
Renovations that last
It goes without saying that a home renovation is an investment that comes after much thought and research. When hiring someone who has been in the home renovation business, you will get to see how their work stands the test of time. This will be evident through their website, through the referrals they give you and mostly through their pride in their work. It’s one thing when a homeowner feels great about a completed home renovation but what’s even more important is how the home renovation company has pride of workmanship. Many companies want to rush you through the whole process, but there are the few that ooze and gush about their work. This is a company that you want to work with. They might be more expensive, but these companies understand their worth and will give your the service and quality that you as a homeowner are looking for. If you can work with such a company, you will likely get a home renovation that will stand the test of time and more importantly, that you will be proud of.
Project Management Expertise
The project manager is the point person for the homeowner and the one who oversees the entire renovation, from beginning to end. Typically, a project manager holds 3-5 separate projects and are assigned to each homeowner based on construction demands and homeowner needs. The project manager has to make sure the scope of work is covered, and that everyone understands and fulfills their responsibilities so that the renovation meets expectations in a timely and cost-effective manner. This often a balancing act of managing multiple people and timelines. It is a job that requires tact and meticulousness. Not only do they have to have a thorough understanding of every aspect of a home renovation, but they also have to have excellent communication and customer service skills. As you can imagine, this isn’t the type of role that can be assumed by someone who is inexperienced. It takes many years to acquire both the hard skills and soft skills to be a successful project manager for a home renovation company. You might have met the most reliable, sociable and friendly salesperson, but the project manager is a personality in the renovation process that you will be communicating on a daily basis.
Renovators that have seen your project before
Your renovation needs are specific and the more experienced your renovator is with projects that resemble yours, the more likely you will be happy with the end product.
If you are doing a complete home renovation, you no doubt want to hire a renovator who has a lot of experience renovating a home. Or, if you want to renovate your basement, you’ll definitely want to work with someone who has successfully taken on this task in the past. You will want to align yourself with a renovator who is connected to local suppliers, contractors, and tradesman; who understands the ins and outs of renovating homes. Make a list of everything you want to see in your home renovation project and hire a company that has previous experience in what it is you want to be done.
Ability to Anticapate
Even if a renovation is planned out perfectly down to every detail, unexpected occurrences are bound to happen, that’s just the nature of home renovation. Luckily, the right renovation expert will know how to anticipate and respond to whatever challenges come up. An experienced renovator who has “seen it all” will be able to not only avoid any sudden pitfalls but will also know what to do to get the project back on track with minimal delay and cost. Hire for the experience if you don’t want to get caught off-guard!
Choose the one for you!
Choosing the right home renovation company can be the difference between a great experience or a stressful one. Take you time, understand your needs and get into the details. Try to understand what you Gut is telling you and after weighing all the pros and cons get into it. We hope this Blog was able to shed some light on the process and that you as the homeowner will benefit from it in your search. Good luck and enjoy this process!
Crown Moulding & Trim Painting
Popcorn Ceiling Removal
Home Renovations that Last!