In an earlier piece, we covered what you need to know when thinking about starting a remodeling project. In this piece, however, we want to cover the most important questions you should be asking once you’ve made up your mind to start a project. Below are the 6 of the most important questions to ask your potential home remodeler (along with our own answers!).
1. How will you communicate with me during the project?
Why this is important to ask: It’s easy for projects to get derailed when there is a lack of communication. Schedules can get messed up, certain pieces may not be ready when expected, and crews may make your life a little harder than it should be during the process. It’s important to talk to your remodeler at the outset and make sure that their communication style meets your needs. With so many options (email, text, phone, in person, and any combination of those), there’s no reason your remodeler can’t find a way to make sure you’re always in touch.
What Airoom does: If the client doesn’t ask this in the first meeting, we certainly do. We don’t want the project to get sidelined any more than you. On top of a 24/7 emergency number, we give you every other option – email, cell phones, landlines – everything. Although a primary method of contact is established, we want you to have every way to reach us.
2. Who will be on site to resolve issues?
Why this is important to ask: This may be a bit obvious, but it’s your home and your project. Making sure that you know who will be there running the work increases the level of accountability on the remodeler’s end, as well as your peace of mind. While many full service remodelers use subcontractors for specific trades, not all have direct oversight. Oftentimes this leads to issues with quality control and scheduling. Making sure that there is someone from your remodeler’s firm available every day is key to your project’s success and your happiness with the process.
What Airoom does: While our projects call for many types of licensed tradesmen, all the work is overseen on a day to day basis by your project Superintendent. He makes sure crews are scheduled, that the work is being done to Airoom’s standards, and even helps out with that day’s work. He’s your first line of contact with us, and is always advocating for you and your project. While there are some off days in your process (maybe things are being shipped, or there is an inspection scheduled), your Superintendent will be there when work is being done, and in touch when he’s not on site.
3. Is there any part of my project that concerns you?
Why this is important to ask: No remodeler can know for sure what the situation is like throughout your entire home, and most experienced remodelers will mention the possibility of running into “unforseens,” or issues that couldn’t have been anticipated. When you ask this question, you still won’t know about all possible “unforseen” issues, but you’ll get a good idea of where they think any something might arise. This will give you a better idea of how the process might change throughout the build.
What Airoom does: From the outset, we try to anticipate and plan for as many possible issues as we can reasonably expect going into the project, and point out areas that we think might be troubling with you before proceeding. We feel that it’s not only a best practice, but good business to make sure that you’re as empowered to make decisions and deal with any issues as you can be going into your remodel.
4. What happens if there needs to be a change order?
Why this is important to ask: Change orders are a necessary part of any project. They are either a result of an “unforeseen” or of a change to the original scope of work (maybe it’s that you want different tile than at the outset, different molding, or a whole new room to be tackled). Understanding your remodeler’s process for documenting this type of work is key to making sure the relationship stays on steady footing. Make sure that change orders are written and signed by both you and the remodeler, and that you have a clear understanding of the price change. All too often homeowners say they want something different and their remodeler gives a verbal estimate and gets to work, only to have it turn into a he-said she-said if things go awry.
What Airoom does: If a change order is necessary, we run through all of the implications with you before going ahead with it. If your new change is going to change the timeline, we let you know by how much time. If it’s going to cost more money, we itemize and let you know what your bottom line is going to be. Your Superintendent makes sure that everything you want to change is communicated properly with the appropriate teams so that nothing is left to interpretation. In the end, it may be a few extra pieces of paperwork but it guarantees you’ll get what you want out of your remodeling project.
5. How do you deal with the construction debris?
Why this is important to ask: Every remodeling project gets messy. Walls get knocked down, floors get pulled up, the list goes on. It’s important to understand your remodeler’s process for keeping things as tidy as possible – after all, you are probably still living in your home during the process. Ask about placement of dumpsters, how often they’ll be cleared out, and how your possessions are being protected.
What Airoom does: We understand that no matter the situation, it’s your home that we’re working in and must respect your space and your belongings. Each day, debris is moved out to a dumpster (or, depending on the job, the debris pile). We let you know which of your possessions should be moved, and make sure that anything else is thoroughly protected. At the end of the build, we conduct a walk-through and clean up anything that may have been left behind.
6. Can you supply references?
Why this is important to ask: Never start a project with a remodeler who can’t supply references and reviews. Each remodeler works differently, and understanding how they work and if they’re a good fit is key to starting on the right foot. If they can’t supply any past work and references and third party endorsements , thank them for their time and call it a day. Although everyone needs to start somewhere, no one wants to be the guinea pig when their home is on the line. Even then, new companies often have experienced team members who have references of their own. If the remodeler your talking with doesn’t have any, that’s a red flag.
What Airoom does: We’ve been in business since 1958, and have completed over 14,000 projects. With 95% customer satisfaction, we’re proud to show off our work and references and ratings from third parties like the BBB and Guild Quality. We bring a hefty book of testimonials to each initial meeting, and make dozens more accessible on our website where you can even sort by town or neighborhood. All this helps you ensure that we’re a good fit from the start, and help us prove that we’re the right remodeler for your job.