Why You Should Wait for a Top Quality Contractor
You've finally decided to remodel your home and you want to get started right away. You've cleared time in your schedule, communicated with members of your family, and you're ready for this change to happen ASAP. Sound familiar? Slow down!
It's a common belief that home improvement projects move along quickly after signing with a contractor. In reality, home improvement timelines rarely move so fast. The best contractors frequently have lengthy wait times, and a long queue of work in process.
With an inaccurate understanding of how contractor timelines work, many homeowners start their home improvement projects at the last minute, with unrealistic deadlines in mind. Sometimes, this even leads homeowners to sign up with sub-par contractors in a race to get their work done.
This can be avoided. Knowing how long you can expect to wait for the best contractors and why the best contractors are worth waiting for can help you plan a successful home remodel.
Best Contractors Are In High Demand
It's been well-documented that contractors and builders are in high demand, while the industry itself is experiencing a labor shortage. Forbes reports that 600,000 workers left construction careers in 2008, and the industry has yet to recover.
With large numbers of homeowners and business owners seeking to make property improvements at any given time, the best contractors are always in high demand. Word spreads when a contractor does good work. According to some sources, 70% of homeowners find their contractor through referrals.
Contractors who do good work stay busy because of these referrals. Remodelers and builders with good skills and good business practices rarely have less than a month of work in their queue.
First-Available Contractors Can Cost Time and Money
Not all contractors produce quality work. They get fewer referrals, and live job-to-job. Many problems can arise by hiring a first-available contractor. Shoddy work is less durable and attractive, and may need to be repaired shortly after the work is finished, or even before the job is done. If the work is not repaired, is done without a permit, or is simply not correct, this can impact your home's property value and may even degrade your quality of life.
Imagine hiring a contractor to remodel your bathroom, only to find out months down the road that the plumbing is now leaking and mold is visible on your walls. Nightmare scenarios can play out in real life. Hiring the wrong contractor can cost money and time.
The Signs of a Good Contractor
Lack of availability is not a flaw in a contractor. In fact, the opposite is true: sometimes you can tell a good contractor by how busy they are. If you're not sure whether the contractor you're thinking about hiring is right for you, look for these other signs:
- Good references. Any builder, remodeler or contractor who has a good work ethic, good business practices and experience should have a long list of references to back them up.
- Portfolio. Modern contractors with established businesses usually have an online portfolio that you can peruse.
- Awards and memberships. Good contractors are usually members of state, local or national associations for contractors, and are often recipients of awards.
- Professional demeanor. Did the contractor show up on time for your first meeting? Did they have good ideas that they were able to communicate easily? You can gauge a good contractor by their customer service and by the expertise they display when you talk.
After your initial meeting, a good contractor will stay in communication to discuss material orders and submit designs, but you likely won't see them at work on your job site for a month or more.
You Make the Choice: Long-Term Investment Vs. Quick Satisfaction
Don't choose a contractor based on availability. Quick satisfaction is not a priority when it comes to home improvement. Your home is your most valuable investment, and should be standing for decades into the future. Hire a contractor that will produce enduring, quality work.
If you're on a deadline and must have your home improvement project finished by a certain date, start planning early to ensure the work will be done on time.
Do Your Research Months Before Beginning Your Project
Know what you want before contacting contractors in your area. Explore materials, gather samples and collect pictures to show your contractor what you like and don't like.
Make Initial Contact with Contractors Months In Advance
Better to get your project finished early than to run up against a deadline. If you need your home improvement project to be finished by a certain date, start contacting contractors months before you need the work to bec completed.
Communicate Your Deadline With Your Contractor
Communicate any deadlines with your contractor to ensure that everyone is one the same page. A pro will tell you up front if they foresee any challenges completing the project by your deadline, and may offer solutions to help you work around these challenges.
Planning a Home Improvement Project? Leave Yourself Plenty of Time
Don't wait until the last minute to start your Connecticut home improvement project. Get started early so you can work with a pro. Keep this timeline in mind:
- 2 - 4 weeks to plan your renovation and seek financing
- 2 weeks to interview contractors
- 4 weeks until your contractor can begin work
Once construction work begins, some home improvement projects are finished in just a week (deck refinishing) while other projects will take months (home addition).
You've heard the saying: the best things in life come to those who wait. The person who coined that phrase may very well have been talking about a kitchen remodel. For help choosing a contractor for your project, read our guide: How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor.
About Kevin Ahern
Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.