Are you considering remodeling your Laguna Beach home?  If so, you’ll likely be hiring a contractor to complete the work.  Finding the right contractor for you can mean the difference between a job well done and disappointment.  Ensure you are getting the best work for the best price by following these guidelines.

Research Potential Contractors

The first place you should look for potential contractors is your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  Ask for their recommendations and about their individual experiences with contractors.  Once you’ve gotten a few names, research them online to find reviews, qualifications, licenses, and how long they have been in business.

Ask for Itemized Bids

You’ve narrowed your search down to a few potential contractors, so now is the time to ask them for estimates.  While many contractors prefer to give you a bottom-line figure, ask for an itemized list that breaks down the cost for each aspect of the job.  If you have an itemized list you can more easily compare bids, and if you need to cut costs you can see what your options are.  If a contractor refuses to provide an itemized bid, that could be a potential red flag.

It is also important to understand whether the bid is an estimate or a fixed price.  If it is an estimate, you need to understand that the cost could end up being higher than the estimate.  If the contractor thinks there are too many unknowns to give you a fixed price, try to resolve those variables before work begins.

Get References

Ask potential contractors how long they have been doing business in the Laguna Beach area, and ask for references.  If they’ve been working locally for several years, they will have established relationships with former clients as well as suppliers or subcontractors.  Find out who they are and ask them questions such as how long ago the project was completed and whether or not they were satisfied with the results.

Understand Payment Options

If possible, avoid paying for any work upfront.  Instead, make a small down payment and keep to a schedule of payments throughout the project as certain aspects of it are completed.  This way, if work gets delayed, the payments the contractor receives are also delayed, giving them incentive to keep to the schedule and complete the project on time.

Get a Written Contract

Always ask for a written contract, even it is not required by law.  The contract should state who will be involved with the project, what is being done, how long it will take, where the work will take place and the cost.  Include a payment schedule, how changes will be handled, a list of materials, information about warranties, what the contractor will and won’t do, and any promises that were made during conversations or calls about the project.  You may also want to include the right to cancel within three business days.

Remodeling your Laguna Beach home doesn’t have to be an intimidating process.  With the guidelines outlined above, you can be sure you are hiring the right contractor for your job.  In no time, you’ll be enjoying your newly upgraded home!