Finding and Choosing a Home Remodeling Company
Search Google for San Diego Home Remodeling Company and you’ll have 1,110,000 results to choose from! How can you know which home remodeling company will be best for your particular house remodel project? Sure, we claim a few top-ten search results in our area, but anyone can hire a web promotions company to get them on the top of Google. Does it really mean one home remodel company is better than another because of their position on Google search?
We believe there is a LOT more to choosing a home remodeling company than their search positions. In fact, we’d like to provide you with a 10-step checklist to help you choose a San Diego home remodeler as follows:
Know What You Want
Every once in a while, we are called into a home to make a change without the client knowing what is wanted. We welcome these opportunities as ideas for room and home changes are in no short supply with our 20+ years in the home remodeling industry. What we are suggesting is that ANY remodeling company will provide you with higher quality work, done right and on budget, when your plan is solid. You’ll get several ideas by reviewing our Before and After images throughout the many sections of our website.
Ask for Referrals
Friends, neighbors, coworkers and family love to talk about their recent home remodel work. When you hear of someone talking about a home remodel project, start asking them questions about the remodeling company. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What is the name of the remodeling company you chose and why did you choose them?
- What was their process for providing you with a quote? (More on this later in this post)
- Did the designer get along with the carpenter or contractor?
- Were their people working well together or always fighting?
- Were their smoke breaks more frequent than you expected?
- Were they respectful of your property during and after the project?
- Were you provided with daily progress updates?
- Was the project finished within budget or did the price escalate as the project went on?
Visit the Home Remodeling Company Website
If you cannot find the perfect home remodeling company from people you know, that’s the time to take your search to the Internet. There are a few thing to look for in a San Diego home remodeling company website:
- Similarity of House Type and Size – You wouldn’t build the San Diego Padres with a bunch of little league players, would you? The same applies for choosing a home remodeling company. Review several gallery photos on the remodeling company’s website to be sure the company is used to working on houses that are within the same range as your house in size, worth, and style.
- Community – Does the designer have experience providing remodel work in your area? Most experienced home remodeling companies will feature cities, towns and even specific prestigious neighborhood names on their website to display areas they’ve worked in. Having experience in your part of town is important for the designer in particular, because you want your remodel work to be unique—yet, fit-in with the rest of your surrounding neighborhood to assure increased property value.
- Know Thy Designer – Does the website feature the designer? People have reputations just like companies. Part of choosing a great home remodeling company is to pick one that has great people. Avoid those that hide the staff names of those who will be working on your home.
- Dedicated Contact – Is a phone number provided and does someone answer when you call? This is key between whether is home remodeling company is a reputable full-time operation with proven longevity versus a startup or struggling company. If you have to leave a message, that’s fine…but only if your call is returned promptly. Be very wary of companies (in any industry) that require you to leave a message and then don’t call you back for a few days. How you are treated by phone is exactly how your project will be treated! This fact is proven to be true time and time again.
Read Reviews…but with Caution
Review sites have multiplied in popularity over the past few years with directory sites such as Angie’s List and Home Advisor. We have active listings on several review sites around the web. There is something you need to know about review sites—they are lead generation machines.
That means they are in the business to attract people needing services; they are not quality police. Anyone can post anything to a review site. Competitors, disgruntled employees, next door neighbors with a grudge, can all post negative reviews. If you see a negative review, print it and send it to the remodeling company in question and ask them about it.
Our point: Yes, read reviews. But, don’t allow any one review (positive or negative) to influence your decision about any particular home remodeling company. At Authentic Designs and Remodeling, Inc., we would rather have just a few authentic reviews than to have dozens of fake or fraudulent ones.
Request an In-Person Meeting at Your House
Sit down with a contractor or designer, preferably both at the same time. Designers and contractors need to work closely during the quoting and implementation of a home remodel project. By you seeing how they both interact in person can greatly help you in your decision of which home remodeling company is chosen.
Sometimes a designer and contractor are in conflict. The designer might want to do a design that the contractor knows cannot possibly be completed within the budget amount provided by the client.
At Authentic Designs & Remodeling, Inc., our designer and contractor are both in-house and have a long-standing working relationship with each other by implementing dozens of high-end projects together. Contractor, Dean Jones says, “We know how each other thinks, how quickly products are ordered, how the project is organized, how each other communicates, how each other visualizes the plan.”
Assure your home remodeling contractor has the resources to get the job done and that they’re not buried in work. Probably every home remodeling company in San Diego uses sub-contracted teams to handle certain components they specialize in. One way that we seem to be unique is that we use multiple sub-contracting teams. So, we are always able to keep our workflow steady without ever getting buried in too much work.
Check Professional Good-Standing and Licensing
Above, we commented on talking with referrers and how to approach reading reviews. This step is one of the most overlooked of all, for some reason.
Make sure your contractor’s bond is in good standing. Look at the company name and license number on the state license board (CSLB) website. Make sure the contractor is who he says he is by entering the board…and make sure he is who he is by entering their license number to see their profile and any actions taken against the contractor. Be sure your chosen remodeler has a valid drivers license!
Expect Prompt and Accurate Quote that’s Within Your Budget
A proposal should be submitted to you just a day or two after your in-person meeting with the designer and contractor. A proper quote should have a brief description of the work being completed and sometimes will include a description of the material used, but not necessarily the species of the item.
Here is where home remodeling companies differ dramatically. Some say once a client gives them their budget, they try to squeeze everything the client wants into the budget. But, when it comes to production, they can’t do everything within the budget amount.
What we do at Authentic Designs & Remodeling, Inc., is help you arrive at a realistic budget based on what your expectations are rather than a specific budget you might have in mind. Sometimes, you can’t reach that expectation by using the budget you’ve supplied.
Design is Everything
Once you’ve chosen the contractor and budget, the key is design. You really need to have design prepared based on the agreed upon budget. We will not start any job without proper design because up-front design is what allows us to accurately project how much money “the details” will cost, what quantity of materials need to be ordered or types of finishes to be included.
We spend extra time with you to find out exactly what you’re looking for, come up with a concept while we are meeting with you initially. Since we have our designer and contractor in the same room with you at your house, we’re usually able to draw a mock-up before we leave. Then, in about a week, we return with a formally drawn design and cost proposal, depending on the complexity of the design.
Next Steps for Your San Diego Home Remodeling Project
Some of the worst calls we get are from angry home owners who are in mid-project with another contractor and the remodel is either not progressing to their satisfaction or completion requires a severe overage in budget. Sometimes, the contractor is just not capable of keeping their promises and there you are with a demolished kitchen or living room and no completion date in sight.
Almost always, the cause was a designer who did not consult with his contractor and, therefore, misguided his client during the budgeting and proposal process.
This unfortunate and frustrating situation can be avoided with the experience provided by Authentic Designs & Remodeling, Inc. Today, we invite you to take a look around our website. Get some ideas with our home remodeling portfolio. Call us at 858-487-1065 for some references to talk to or send and email through our contact form with any questions. But, most importantly, have our contractor and designer come to your home to discuss your home remodel project anywhere in San Diego and surrounding areas.