|If you’re planning a remodeling project, begin your search for competent, reliable, and honest remodelers in your own neighborhood. Take a drive to discover where remodeling jobs are underway and begin collecting names. Most remodelers will post signs promoting their services in front of homes in which they are working. Also look for other clues such as trade contractors vans or trucks or construction dumpsters. Whether you see a sign identifying the remodeler or not, knock on the door and speak with the homeowner.
Better remodelers understand that if they do a good job, they’re usually guaranteed more work in that neighborhood. I know of no better source of high-quality referrals than a happy homeowner, so the better remodelers will work hard to leave a legacy of satisfied customers.
Another source of leads is friends or colleagues at work or school, clubs, professional organizations, or charity or service organizations you belong to. Be bold! The more people you ask, the more names you’ll be able to gather. Be sure the people recommending the remodeler have personal experience with his or her work.
You may find your next step, contacting these homeowners, to be quite engaging. I have found that many people who have recently completed a remodeling project want to talk about it. These folks are overflowing with information from this once-in-a-lifetime experience and are full of stories they may want to share. Your visit with them will be well worth the time.
And not only are their memories of the stories, characters, and events fresh, but of their memories of the emotional roller coaster are as well. Your connection with these homeowners will be valuable both for the information they provide and the perspective they bring. They’ll want to share their highs and lows with you because they’ve been in your shoes, and they know something about how you’re feeling at this point in the process.
Additional Sources for Remodelers
Other sources aren’t as dependable. For instance, you can use the phone book. But, are you willing to spend thousands of dollars based on a random lead you get from the Yellow Pages®?
While you shouldn’t have any problem locating remodeling veterans, I’ve included the telephone number of the major professional organization that can provide names of remodelers in your area.
There are 2 primary trade organizations that represent remodelers. You can contact the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers Council at 800-368-5242, ext. 216. The NAHB bookstore has published 3 consumer information brochures entitled the “Remodeling Your Home” series. They are (a) “How to Find a Professional Remodeler” (b) “Understanding Your Remodeling Agreement” (c) “How to Live With Your Remodeling Project.” All 3 can be purchased from the NAHB bookstore for $3. You can also call the local National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The office number is 703-442-8453. Ask for the most recent NARI Home Remodeling Guide that will list industry members in your area. Because the purpose of these associations is to promote professionalism and image within the remodeling industry, association members probably are more reliable than remodelers who aren’t members.