How to Pick a Contractor

Negotiating with Contractors can be done effectively only if you provide proper planning in materials of your project and you give him an idea of your budget. If you give your contractor a chance, they can develop a workable solution for your remodeling plans using the budget you have versus the dreams you envision. By adjusting the type of products used in your remodel, or altering your plans for size and scope, you can do the project as you planned in one step. Or you can have more than your budget allows if you stage your remodel into logical steps - starting with Phase One now and completing Phase Three over a one, two or three year time frame.

Being Specific can save you money Contractors spend a lot of time preparing your estimate, estimating costs are reflected in your final project bid. Be specific - and most importantly be sure you are comparing apples to apples when reviewing bids. It is impossible for you to gauge the best estimate if each contractor is presenting you with proposals based on different square footage, quality of appliances and products or scope of work. Have a written outline for the scope of the work, the quality of the raw materials and the expectations for time involved to complete the project, so each contractor bidding on your project is estimating the same 

Qualify your Contractor

  • Verify that the Contractor is appropriately licensed.
  • Ensure that the contractor has adequate liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.
  • Ask the contractor for a written list of his/her three most recent projects with names, telephone numbers and addresses of the owners.
  • Call the owners and ask questions as to the performance of the contractor.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau, the Wisconsin Board of Building Regulations or Wisconsin Registrar of Contractors and the Office of the Attorney General to find out whether the contractor has any complaints or disciplinary action.

Do not enter into any construction agreement without a written contract containing:

  • Accurate Materials, Labor and Final Price specifications
  • Work Schedules and completion Dates
  • A clear understanding of the warranty being offered.
  • Payment schedules
  • How daily and end of project clean up will be handled.
  • How change orders and how payment for those changes will be handled.

You may also want to learn about your local Lien Laws and your rights as a consumer. 

Construction Tips

Compare Apples to Apples in Construction Quotes

When getting quotes for a construction or remodeling project, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Ask all potential contractors to quote your remodeling project using the same construction materials as other contractors who are quoting. Not all building materials are the same - and some contractors use inferior products to slip in with the lowest bid.
--Get all remodeling contractors to create their quotes using specified construction materials

Ask for photos of past construction work

Ask potential contractors for images of completed construction or remodeling projects that you can see. Don't be afraid to ask to speak to past references. If it's possible, visit a complete remodeling or construction site where you can see the quality and craftsmanship first hand.
--View past construction jobs to verify the quality the contractor is offering - SR Remodeling Gallery