Choosing your bathroom remodeling contractor

The process of choosing which contractor to work with can be difficult

Make sure you select the right one

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The plan was to get three quotes for the job. Having a budget in mind, we would discuss with each contractor what we wanted to do. We would describe the ideal bathroom with every feature just the way we preferred. It didn't matter at this point if the bids came back over budget, we were shooting for our absolute ideal bathroom remodeling job. Who knows, we might be surprised and bids would fit the budget.

When the bids came back, they would surly be over budget, and not by a little. More like blowing the budget which didn't even include several thousand dollars worth of plumbing fixtures.

But that was the point. Find out what the ideal bathroom would cost. In the process, get a feel for which of the three contractors we "felt" best about. Then work with that contractor to cut back on the luxuries that aren't as important as other until the budget and end product are in line with each other.

Communication is critical in an expensive remodeling job - we've all seen it - you could say something 100 ways and 100 times, and you're still misunderstood. Now figure that misunderstanding could cost your thousands of dollars in something done the wrong way. So use the bidding process to learn which contractor you feel most comfortable communicating with.

If cost is really different, then ask them why. Especially eye-brow raisingly low bids. Consider that ones standards might be higher than others who would be tempted to cut corners to get the low bid and win the job.

Consider also, that with each contractor you talk to, your thoughts will be more refined. The first or last contractor might be bidding on more or less work than the other. So if cost is a big factor in choosing a contractor, be sure to keep workload in mind. Ask them to revise their bids if you have trouble deciding between two.

Above all, be skeptical. If promptness is important to you, then take note of that. If conversation doesn't flow, or feels labored, consider that. Don't be impressed with the "I've been in business for 250 years" speech. It sounds logical, it may even be true, but it doesn't mean squat! Remodeling contractors more than enough jobs to survive quite well on mediocre work, and missed deadlines - just look at how many of them don't bother to return your phone call.

The point here, is that as you learn more about the process and materials, you're also learning about each contractor. As you converse they will say things that raise a red flag, and other things that raise a green flag. Use these flags to decide which contractor you prefer to work with.

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