Bottom line; finding a reliable construction remodeling company to take on your project is hard work. Washington DC has always had a large pool of great construction companies to choose from. The problem is sorting through them in a manner that is efficient and is most likely to lead to the right match.
But what does the ideal construction company look like to you as a homeowner? How do you go about selecting the ideal company to work with? For instance, if you’re considering adding a second story to your home, extending or remodeling your kitchen, expanding a bathroom or simply remodeling your entire family room, how should you start?
These are the things we want to help answer for you today. The sooner you get these things out of the way, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on the fun stuff; choosing paint colors, decorations, design, style and finally, enjoying your new space.
Our goal today is genuine; to help you avoid future headaches, unnecessary arguments with family members and as many unexpected surprises as possible.
Where should you start
Ultimately, finding the ideal construction company requires an investment of time and energy. Your goal is to match your specific project to the most qualified construction company out there.
Now think about that statement for a second! Let me say it again; “your sole purpose is making sure to match your project with the most qualified company in Northern Virginia, Washington DC or Maryland (or whichever city are located in).”
Although this sounds simple and straight-forward, don’t disregard it as such. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
When you ‘decide’ that you want to extend the house and build out a family room, you have ‘defined’ exactly what you want. However, if you’re still deciding whether you should redo your kitchen, remodel your basement or extend the family room, you still have some thinking and research to do. No point in pursuing a construction company when you’re uncertain about what you want.
The point is, you must find a construction company that possesses the precise experience and expertise in your project. That’s it.
So let’s assume you want to extend your homes family room (as suggested above). Would you hire a local handyman, a kitchen & bath dealer, or a construction company that has performed five, ten or more home additions recently?
The answer is obvious of course. A company that specializes in extensions and additions is much better prepared to understand and carry out your project in a much more efficient (trouble-free) manner. Would you agree?
You want a construction company that understands what you are trying to accomplish, that can help predict (and possibly prevent) potential problems, provide a more realistic timeframe, and not to mention quality craftsmanship, relevant references and guidance throughout.
From start to finish
So now that we understand what the right match looks like, what are the characteristics of such a construction company? Few things to look for.
A great construction company is equipped to handle every aspect of your project, from start to finish. They will typically assign a project manager or general contractor who is charged with overseeing all developments pertaining to design, permits, hiring, inspections, managing subcontractors and ultimately accepting complete responsibility for the successful outcome of your project.
Having a qualified project manager will make your life much easier. He or she will help avoid confusions, misunderstandings, headaches (as promised), coordinate materials and deliveries, and this person will help set proper expectations and make sure everything moves along according to schedule.
Of course, I cannot end this paragraph without pointing out that “things happen!”. Especially in the construction remodeling industry. You’ve probably heard of Murphy’s law which states: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” So be sure to prepare yourself mentally to account for the possibility. Don’t drive yourself crazy if ‘things happen’. Remember that you invested time, money and energy to hire an ideal construction company which should handle any of those issues that come along, not you.
Looks for signs of honesty
Although this may seem like basic, standard or even elementary advice, you must do your homework. I cannot tell you how many homeowners fail to perform due diligence on the local remodeling companies they hire. Take this step seriously.
I understand, all you want to think about is how great the new addition is going to turn out, how much you and your family will enjoy it, and how beautiful the new space will look with all the decorations you have in mind, right? And the thought of interviewing construction companies, again and again, is not something you want to really want to sit down and grind out. Do it anyways.
Another common mistake we see by homeowners is just hiring the first company that comes across their research. Again, the feeling of just “get things moving so that I can enjoy my new space” supersedes.
It is a tedious process, but one you cannot ignore. So take your time and check references, look for signs of honesty, have someone come out to your place, study their suggestions and ideas, put their knowledge as a construction expert to the test. Ask questions about their recent projects, past experience and more importantly, ask how they have dealt in the past when problems arise. Have them give you very specific examples.
Know your limit
Make sure to have a budget. Ultimately you will want to demand a realistic price, timeframe, and expectations, right? So in order to obtain accurate information on those items, help your potential construction company by explaining exactly what you have in mind and what your budget is. This will help keep their questions and suggestions within specific areas, but more importantly, knowing your budget will help keep those questions and ideas reasonable and justifiable.
You may not be completely clear on all the things you want to include as part of a remodeling or construction project. But don’t worry, a prepared consultant will know exactly the questions to ask, hence why knowing your limit is imperative.
Let the professional construction company ask you whether you prefer gas or electric for the chimney, or between hardwood or laminate floors, or the number of windows you may prefer, or whether you would like access from the exterior.
Let them tell you the difference in pricing between custom and pre-made cabinets, the advantages and disadvantages, or the pros and cons between the electric and gas chimney, etc.
So many things involved in a construction project that it is easy to lose sight of the original budget and can easily escalate. Having a clear number present will help bring those “extras” back to the original intention, which is to NOT GO OVER BUDGET.
I want to leave you with one final thought. Before you begin the process of reaching out to local construction companies, make sure you have a plan, a budget, and know exactly what you want to have done. The last thing you want is to turn a great construction company away because you were unable to answer their questions.
Build the ideas in your mind. Discuss the project with your spouse or family members. Ask for opinions and ideas from friends. These are all great ways to help bring clarity to your project (in your mind and on paper), but best of all will help things go smoothly once they get started.
Finally, if you’re thinking to remodel a bathroom give our team of experts a call and ask for a free in-home estimate. We also have a great complimentary resource: The Ultimate Bathroom Planning Guide For Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland.
Good luck with everything.