Are you eager to get a home renovation project underway? If so, you probably already know the challenges of trying to find a remodeler to do the work in such a robust economy.
You might be tempted to settle for a fly-bynight contractor who’s just happy to have the work. Or if you’re really brave, you might decide to do it yourself.
Our advice: Don’t move forward without the commitment of a legitimate, qualified, full-service general contractor like Custom. As anxious as you may be to enjoy your new addition or revamped kitchen, practicing patience will be worth it in the long run.
A Hot Remodeling Industry
According to a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) survey released in January, NARI remodelers are projecting an average increase in sales of 13.1% this year. Furthermore, 80% of respondents are expecting to see some degree of growth in 2016. We don’t have any data on Greater Boston in particular, but it’s safe to say local remodelers have a similarly rosy outlook.
With remodelers keeping so busy, it’s no wonder many are taking a long time to start projects, submit proposals or schedule initial meetings. We’ve heard from many frustrated homeowners who can’t even get a call back!
If you’re in this boat, let’s review your three options:
1) Do it yourself.
If you have the right experience and it’s a smaller project, you might be able to do it yourself. But anything beyond the most basic work can get complicated fast.
For instance, are you knowledgeable about things like obtaining permits, code requirements and code violations? How about head rooms, clearances, egresses and ventilation and make-up air requirements (all common issues with attic and basement projects)? Are you licensed to do electrical and plumbing work, and is it safe to try it yourself? Can you properly install insulation, flooring, windows or structural support beams?
These represent just a fraction of the considerations that may go into your remodeling project. Unless you are qualified across the board — or have a lot of time and money on your hands — DIY probably isn’t the way to go.
2) Go with a cheap option.
What we refer to as a “fly-by-night” contractor is one who takes on whatever work comes his way, whether it’s building a new home or remodeling an existing one. He might have gone into business recently. And he might rely heavily on carpentry subcontractors or random trade professionals he may not have even worked with before.
While you might save money in this scenario, you put yourself at great risk. New construction and remodeling require different skill sets, and the results will show in terms of the quality of work and your experience during the project. His subcontractors, meanwhile, have their own clients to keep happy and are likely to be available for your project only sporadically.
Then, there are issues of trustworthiness and customer service. If the contractor doesn’t pull a permit, or asks you to do it, he might not be registered with the Commonwealth and/or may lack the proper insurance coverage. Why wouldn’t a contractor be registered or carry insurance? His business may have gone bankrupt or he may have been sued by so many homeowners that he decided to relaunch the business under a new name.
And if issues arise during the project (as they inevitably will), a contractor like this won’t have the resources to ensure prompt resolution.
3) Make the smart choice.
That is, wait until a reputable general contractor can take on your project. How do you find a reputable contractor? A personal recommendation from a friend or family member is a great place to start. You should also verify that the contractor is licensed, is ensured and has been operating under the same name for a number of years. To begin the process, visit www.mass.gov and enter “Information on Selecting a Contractor” into the Search box.
At Custom, we deliver what many other contractors can’t. We’ve specialized in remodeling since 1990, and our experience shows across all project phases. Our in-house project management and lead carpenters — many of whom have been with us for 15+ years — do outstanding work, and we have longstanding relationships with subcontractors for electrical and plumbing work, painting, etc. At our Design/Build Remodeling Center in Arlington, we have a large staff dedicated to providing superb customer service. And our philosophy of taking a holistic approach to home care means we’ll be there for you, from small repairs to major renovations.
So if you have a big remodeling project in mind, don’t make the mistake of doing it yourself or settling for an under-qualified contractor. Whether it’s Custom or another firm with similar credentials, make sure you go with a proven option. You’ll be glad you did — even if it means waiting a little longer to get started than you’d like.
Questions? Contact us! Phone: 781-648-2835