Got questions? We have answers!

The following are general but frequently asked questions. They are unique to their circumstance and importance.

Should you have another question not covered here. Please contact us for clairification.

Can adding certain features add big value? 

 

Yes, remodeling can add value to your home without all the work of a complete renovation. You can update plumbing fixtures, add crown molding to living spaces, and add some lighter color to the walls of rooms that don't get a lot of natural light. Studies have shown that updating your entryway, including upgrading your front door itself, can add big value to your home at the time of resale. 

 

Does every job need a permit? 

 

Building codes have been established by most cities, towns and countries. They vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another. A building permit generally is required whenever structural work is involved or when the basic living area of the home is to be changed. A professional who works in your city or town every day will know your local requirements. 

 

What are the questions I should ask potential contractors?

 

Timing and money are the most common questions a home improvement contractor hears, but during an interview with a homeowner when homeowners should be asking about credentials and verifying business practices what is often heard is, “When can you start? When will it be finished? How much will it cost?" These simply aren't enough. Yes, timing may be "everything" in comedy, but that certainly isn't the case when it comes to remodeling. If you are going to have a successful remodeling project, you need to learn the right questions to ask and how to ask them. 

 

When a group of remodeling contractors were asked what questions homeowners asked most frequently, the group unanimously agreed that their most popular queries were:

 

-When can you start? 

-When will you be finished?

-What time will you knock on my door each morning? 

-What time will you quit for the day? 

-Are you going to work every day? 

-Can you finish before (insert any major holiday or significant family event)? 

-How much will it cost per square foot?

 

Unfortunately, these are not the type of questions that are going to tell you much about a particular contractor. While a reasonable timetable and budget is important, it shouldn't be the primary focus of an interview or a job. Homeowners should also focus on trust and quality.

 

Start by asking questions about a company's business practices and experience in a similar type of project. If you decide you want to hire a particular remodeling contractor, then you can discuss when he or she can start, what time he or she can knock on your door each morning and when you will have your home to yourselves again. 

 

What questions should a homeowner ask before signing a remodeling contract? 

 

How long have you been in business? Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job? Who will be working on the project? Are they employees or subcontractors? Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance? (Always verify this information by calling the agency. A copy of an insurance certificate does not let you know if the policy is still current. Even if the certificate has an expiration date, you cannot tell if the insurance has been canceled by either party.) If licensing is required in your state also ask if the contractor is licensed and call to verify compliance with the law. Not all states offer or require licensing. Check with your local or state government agencies. What is your approach to a project such as this? How many projects like mine have completed in the past year? May I have a list of referrals from those projects? May I have a list of business referrals or suppliers? What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business? Are you a member of a national trade association?

 

It's also important to realize that sometimes it's not the answers you get that are significant, but what you don't get. Asking the right questions is not enough. You need to pay attention to your instincts and to what information is missing. 

 

What about contracts and orders? 

 

Before any work begins on your kitchen or bathroom, get detailed, written estimates, project specifications and signed contracts from the professionals you hire. Make sure they're bonded and insured. (If you work with an NKBA member, he/she will likely coordinate all of your sub-contractors for you.) Check references carefully. Your designer should prepare project drawings including floor plans and renderings that clearly represent your project. If anything changes mid-project, you should be asked to sign a change order.

 

Answers to specific questions not covered here. Please use the Contact Us page. We will contact you as soon as possible!

 

What about contracts and orders? 

 

Before any work begins on your project, get detailed, written estimates, project specifications and signed contracts from the professionals you hire. Make sure they're insured and if necessary bonded. Check references carefully. Your designer should prepare project drawings including floor plans and renderings that clearly represent your project. If anything changes mid-project, you should be asked to sign a change order.

 

What about payment? 

 

Most firms will require a percentage (usually 50 percent or so) when you sign the contract, additional payment (usually 40 percent or so) when cabinets are delivered or installation begins, and the balance (10 percent or so) when the job is complete. You may also be required to pay a design retainer at the start of the job.

 

 

What can I do myself to help cut costs? 
 

There are a lot of professionals out there - interior designers, architects, remodeling contractors - but your best bet is to pick a designer or firm that specializes in the specific area you need. You'll probably meet at your residence, to share your ideas and basic needs. Then he'll take careful measurements of the space, make note of plumbing electric and structural elements, and get a feel for your home's style. He'll also ask a lot of questions about your project, lifestyle and family. He'll be listening carefully so that the finished room you work to create reflects your personal taste and how you use the space. You'll choose products, colors and materials together, working within your budget. The relationship can go only as far as creating your design, or you may have a design professional act as a consultant, or he may manage the entire project for you - including hiring sub-contractors and scheduling the work and supervising the installation. If sweat equity is what you have in mind. Ask your contractor if this is possible! Depending on your skill level and how comfortable your are being around a construction site. The contractor in soome cases, may have you sign a waiver removing him from any liabilities while you are on site.

 

 

Answers to your specific questions may not covered here. Please use Contact Us! We'd be glad to answer your questions!

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© 2015 by Benchmark Construction LLC.

Benchmark Construction, LLC

Serving Des Moines and Surrounding Metro Areas

501 E. 5th, Woodward, IA, 50276
(515) 240-7022