The client of a bathroom remodeling contractor should always be involved in the process of designing and building their bathroom. Unfortunately, a big mistake most clients make when remodeling their bathroom is not asking enough questions. The last thing a general contractor wants to do is deal with a dissatisfied client who isn’t excited by the final product.
According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most bathroom remodels require a minimum budget of $10,000. If you’re paying that kind of money for something, let alone home remodeling services, you want to hire an experienced professional who you can trust with the job. Here are the 12 essential questions you need to ask a bathroom remodeling contractor before you commit to hiring them:
1. Can I See Your Bathroom Remodeling Portfolio?
Once you round up a few contractors who seem like the right fit for your project, you’ll want to review their previous bathroom remodels. Request bathroom remodeling portfolios from different candidates, checking the quality and appearance of the work, while also double checking images the customers posted online to social media. Inspect close-up photos with a keen eye for detail, you need to make sure the work doesn’t just look good from a distance. The tiles should be leveled without any chips or cracks, and the paint should be applied smoothly.
2. Can I Speak Directly With Some Of Your Previous Clients?
When interviewing multiple bathroom remodeling contractors be sure to ask about speaking with their references. Tell the contractor you’d prefer to speak with his client’s on your own time, preferably over the phone, as you don’t want him present during the conversation, as he could potentially influence the interaction between you and his references. It’s recommended you ask each contractor for at least three references to give you a clear picture of what it’s like to work with them. When chatting with their previous clients ask about the contractor’s communication skills and quality of workmanship during their bathroom remodel. Ask about the timeline of their bathroom remodel. How did the contractor handle any unexpected invoices outside the scope of the initial contract? Were there any delays during their bathroom remodel, how did the contractor and his team respond?
3. Does The Contractor Specialize In Bathroom Remodeling?
Certain home remodeling companies may only work on smaller projects, while others will prefer larger full-scale remodeling projects. For example, you might find one company that only remodels bathrooms from the ground up, while another company you find offers bathroom remodeling, along with all sorts of other renovation and remodeling services. If a company doesn’t have years of experience, it can be safe to assume that they’re not experts in every type of home remodeling project. Generally, finding a contractor who specializes in bathroom remodeling is your best option when looking to complete a successful remodel. Ask about all their renovation and remodeling services to give you a general idea of the type of work this contractor normally performs.
4. Will You Be Hiring Subcontractors For My Bathroom Remodel?
It’s common for a bathroom remodeling contractor to hire subcontractors, usually plumbers and electricians, to complete the project. It’s a lot of work for one person to demo, frame, install the new bathtub, and add a vanity all by themselves. Still, you want to know who’s going to be coming in and out of your home. You should ask the contractor who’s going to have access to information such as the garage door code. Ask the contractor to:
- Introduce you to the project manager so you’ll know who’s overseeing your bathroom remodel.
- Confirm the company’s liability insurance covers their subcontractors.
- Learn the names of everyone who’ll be coming in and out of your home, and write down the time to expect them.
5. Can You Show Me Your License And Liability Insurance
You need to cover yourself in case any life-threatening accidents occur during your bathroom remodel. Make sure everyone the contractor hires to work on your project has the proper credentials and insurance. Don’t let anyone swing a sledgehammer into your shower walls unless they are licensed and insured, even if they’re offering to cut a deal with you.
- License: Ensure the contractor you hire is a trained professional who can successfully complete your bathroom remodel. Licensing requirements vary based on your city and state, so double-check your local building laws to confirm the contractor is up to date on all legalities before hiring them.
- Insurance: The insurance your contractor provides keeps your home protected in the event that something goes wrong during construction, such as a bursted pipe. Caps vary by policy, but typically they include a $1 million dollar per occurrence limit. Making sure your contractor is insured also means you’ll never be responsible if someone’s hurt while working on your bathroom remodel.
6. What Permits And Inspections Do I Need For My Bath Remodel?
Most remodeling projects, particularly home additions, will require necessary permits and inspections from your local building department before the work can begin. If you’ve decided you want to expand the size of your bathroom, you’ll want to ask the contractor what permits and inspections will be required. An experienced home remodeling company will schedule all your inspections, as well as pull permits for you. The cost of pulling permits and performing inspections will be included in the project’s contract.
7. What Is The Expected Schedule For My Bathroom Remodeling Project?
Confirm your contractor highlights the key aspects of your project’s schedule, from when to expect the crew, to how long it will take to install the new shower and tile the walls.
- Timeline: Ask about the project’s timeline to get a general idea of how long your bathroom remodeling project should take.
- Delays: Ask your contractor about potential delays that are common when remodeling a bathroom, and find out how they address delays when they happen.
- Daily schedule: Make sure the contractor sends you a detailed schedule outlining the start and end time for daily work, that way you’ll know when people are on your property, even if you’re not home.
8. Should I Install A Shower Or A Tub?
If a homeowner has multiple bathrooms in their house a good idea is to install a walk-in shower into at least one of them. This gives people of all sizes and abilities the opportunity to bathe in your bathroom, but if you already have a shower installed then a tub is probably ok for your current bathroom remodeling project. Accidents happen, and as we age getting in and out of a bathtub becomes increasingly more difficult and dangerous. Walk-in shower stalls are less likely to cause someone to slip and fall and even can offer enough space to install a shower bench.
9. What Is The Payment Schedule For My Bathroom Remodel?
A good contractor will never ask for the full payment upfront, so be wary of anybody who does. Ask about the down payment required to start the project, and find out what the payment schedule will look like. Make sure all the payment expectations are understood and written out in the contract before any work begins.
- Down payment: Your initial down payment for the project is typically going to be 10% of the overall price. With the average cost being $10,000 to remodel a bathroom, your first down payment is likely to be around $1,000.
- Payment Schedule: You’ll pay in increments over the course of your project. The amounts and schedule can vary depending on the scope and timeline of your bathroom remodel.
- Final payment: Find out when the final payment is due. Do you need to pay before the work is completed, a few days after, or one month after? Ensure you and your contractor agree on the final date and arrange for any deadline changes that could affect the completion date of your bathroom remodel.
10. Who Will Communicate With Me Throughout My Bathroom Remodeling Project?
Make sure you can keep in touch with the remodeling team during the course of your project so that when you have concerns, new bathroom design ideas, or when an emergency occurs, you can easily let them know. Your project manager should also be in contact with you, so discuss the best ways and times for you two to communicate, and don’t forget to ask for updates and progress reports on your bathroom remodel’s completion.
11. How Many Projects Do You Manage At A Time?
You want to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor who has the time to complete your project successfully. Ensure you and your contractor share the same expectations about how often their team will be on-site once the project begins. The contractor should explain to you how long each stage of the project’s timeline should take, and they should provide you with a clear understanding of what factors could potentially delay that timeline. A great contractor goes above and beyond to make sure a homeowner feels included during the remodeling process. Contractors who communicate well are not afraid of accountability and are always ready to answer any of the client’s questions and concerns.
12. Does The Contract Cover Everything For My Bathroom Remodel?
Carefully double-check the contract and make sure you understand the verbiage. If you don’t understand it, don’t hesitate to ask the contractor for a thorough explanation. Bathroom remodels are prone to changes in the timeline, but putting a suggested plan into solid writing means everyone has clear expectations about what will happen during the project.
It’s also important to ask the contractor what might not be included in the contract. This will help avoid conflicts of interest during the project. For example, you may have discussed with the bathroom remodeling contractor the possibility of installing a smart, low-flow toilet. So is this included in the contract, or will this be charged as a separate invoice? You want to clarify the scope of the work so both you and your bathroom remodeling contractor will always be on the same page.
If you’re looking to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor with a proven record of delivering high-quality bathroom remodels, schedule a free consultation with Perry Brothers Construction, Massachusetts and New Hampshire’s premier home remodeling company. You can visit our website at perrybrothersconstruction.com or call our office at 781-233-7511. We’d love to answer any of your bathroom remodeling questions or concerns, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.