In most cases, home improvement projects require the expertise and experience of a professional remodeling contractor to ensure the work is completed efficiently and accurately the first time.
As with any service provider, however, not just any remodeler will do. Taking time to vet prospective contractors from around Cedar Falls, Iowa, and finding the right fit is imperative to getting the project done right and having a positive experience along the way.
It can be difficult to know the quality of a home improvement contractor before you’ve worked with them. There are a few ways to go about researching and performing due diligence to increase your odds of finding the right contractor.
To get started, compile a list of local remodelers from Cedar Falls and the surrounding area based on recommendations from friends, family members, and neighbors—especially those who have recently completed a renovation project. You can also search online, via web searches or by posting a request for a recommendation on a social media page.
Related: Why You Should Hire a General Contractor For Your Home Remodel
To start narrowing down your list to the top contenders, check out each contractor's website and social media pages. Pay close attention to reviews, which can be found on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Also, top-notch home remodelers should include a virtual showroom and digital portfolio, so you can get a sense of their selections and how they approach a project, as well as the renovations they’ve completed for customers like you. Keep in mind portfolios often display the remodeler's best work, so if the projects don’t look that great, the company's average work may be even worse. Asking these questions before hiring will also make sure you pick the right contractor.
Another way to vet potential remodeling firms is by asking for their licensing and certification and checking it against Iowa’s specific industry requirements. Each contractor should also carry liability insurance and be covered by worker’s compensation. From there, check the company’s references. Ask a couple of homeowners on the reference list to visit their residences in Cedar Falls, Waterloo, or Independence so you can see the remodeler’s work in person.
Wondering what to look for in a contractor? Beyond the suite of residential remodeling services they provide, there are a few characteristics that are important regardless of your exact home improvement project. Whether you’re redoing a kitchen, expanding a bathroom, or replacing flooring, here are three qualities to prioritize:
Nothing is more important in any relationship—professional or personal—than trust. Home improvement projects call for a substantial investment of both your time and money, so you want to be able to trust the company responsible for designing and implementing the renovation will hold up their end of the bargain. A trustworthy company is honest and transparent about costs and timeline and doesn’t make promises that are too good to be true. When issues arise, they communicate clearly with you and promptly address the problem.
Does the remodeling team show up on time? Do they keep the job site tidy? Do they stay on schedule? These questions all revolve around the contractor’s reliability—and they’re worth asking other homeowners in Northern Iowa who have previously worked with the remodeling firm. A reliable home improvement contractor is punctual for both appointments and workdays. They respond quickly to phone calls and emails and take accountability for mistakes. Additionally, they maintain a consistent standard when it comes to the quality of both products and craftsmanship.
Even though your project is one of the dozens completed by your home remodeling company in a given year, they should give it careful attention and consideration with the understanding that you have to live with the outcome for years to come. To that end, a reputable contractor listens to your vision and priorities to develop design plans that capture what you’re looking for. Once construction is underway, they continue to make themselves available to hear your input and concerns.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of Cedar Falls contractors to your top choice, schedule an initial consultation to confirm they are right for your project. The meeting doesn’t need to be stressful or intimidating—it’s in both your and the company’s best interest to make sure upfront that it’s a good fit. Here are a few questions to ask a contractor:
You never want to work with an unlicensed contractor. Once you get the license number from a professional remodeling firm you’re considering, investigate whether any judgments or claims have been passed against them.
There are innocuous reasons why a contractor might change their company name. If that’s the case, however, they should be more than willing to tell you. If a contractor doesn't give you a straight answer, it could signal their old company went bankrupt or was shut down for unethical practices.
Procuring a copy of the contractor’s certificates of insurance confirms not only that they have a policy, but also informs you what kind of coverage they have and how much.
Experience matters, and it’s important to know whether a company specializes in projects like the one you’re planning. If they’re highly experienced with that type of home improvement project, there is less risk of errors and waste.
If you’re undertaking a major remodeling project that alters the structure of your home in Cedar Falls, make sure you’re working with a contractor who knows what permits you need and will pull them for you, in addition to coordinating inspections.
The contractor should be able to give you a rough quote during the initial consultation, although you won’t get a detailed estimate until you’ve nailed down project specifications and material selections. You can ask, however, what the payment schedule would look like, how additional charges will be dealt with, and if there are warranties for services or materials that will be used.
Ask the contractor for a projected timeframe and if there are any issues that could impede progress. An experienced, trustworthy contractor can tell you an estimated start and completion date and whether they are working on other projects or experiencing a labor shortage that could lengthen the timeline.
Communication is integral to a positive, efficient home remodeling experience. You should ask the contractor for a physical address—not just a PO Box—as well as the business and cellphone number of the project manager. It's also important to ask how disagreements will be resolved.
A remodeling contractor that has nothing to hide will welcome your questions and not hesitate to share detailed answers, a portfolio, and a reference list for you to do further research. If you’re looking for a trustworthy, reliable home improvement company to help you with a project in Northern Iowa, consider Home Indeed. Whether its a bathroom remodel, kitchen, remodel, or home addition, our team is highly experienced with a range of home remodeling services and will guide you from an initial design consultation to final project completion with a seamless process that fosters clear communication, accountability, and budget control.