Protecting & Preserving Your Biggest Asset

October 12, 2022

One thing that is crystal clear in 2022 is the lack of competent and professional construction and remodeling contractors available to valley residents.  The complaints seem almost endless.  And with so much automation added, the personal touch these customers have grown accustomed to seeing over the years, has gone the way of artificial intelligence and other technology.  This can create uncertainty with homeowners as well as unnecessary confusion when choosing the right company for the job. There are but a handful of construction and remodeling companies that take the time to properly train and educate their employees. Most of these companies have proven to be unreliable.    

In a recent study, we learned that over 75% of customers seeking out construction and remodeling services said they still had doubts regarding their choice of who to hire for these services.  When we consider how important it is to have work done correctly, we also see why in some cases hiring amateurs can actually lower the value of one's home.  And since your home is your biggest asset, it is extremely important to understand why making the right choice is so important.  

In 2018, for example, the City of Phoenix amended its construction codes, effective until July 1st, 2019.  The issue then, was that VERY few construction and remodeling companies adhered to changes, and even fewer familiarized themselves with those important changes, so what we often see, are remodeling and construction projects done incorrectly and not "per code", unbeknownst to homeowners. As an established and highly successful company, we're seeing only a small handful of companies keeping on top of important changes.  We're also seeing that the majority of helpers and other employees are untrained with regard to changes.  That's a problem and so, it is vital the homeowner ask the right questions when choosing a contractor. 

HomeAdvisor (Powered by Anji) listed 15 must-ask questions in a prior article. These are essential questions that can prevent fraud and ensure homeowner satisfaction:  

They are:  

1) How long have you been in this business? (It is important to note that construction and remodeling companies that have breached the 1 year's mark without incident, complaints, or liens in public record should be considered at least somewhat safe).

2) Do you have a contracting license? (If so, ask them to produce that information and be sure to check it online).  

3) Can I see your certificate of insurance?  (For obvious reasons, what if contractors you hire actually damage your home in the process?)

4) Will you obtain the permits and set up the inspections required for this job? (If you don't ask, most certainly will not tell you if they are). 

5) What is our timeline for completion? (You don't want to leave this door open. Instead, you want to nail down a definitive timeline and also ask your contractor if there are any foreseeable delays that could extend the timeline). 

6) What is the payment schedule? (This way there are no surprises. NOTE: If a contractor asks for all fees in advance, it is normally a red flag).  Half at start of project and half upon completion is how most contractors work, The honest ones, anyway.  

7) Will I have a dedicated team working on my job? (You want to know this, just in case crews change and you see unfamiliar faces.  This also ensures you will be made aware of any changes in crew as the work is done.  

8) What way would you like me to get in touch with you, directly?  (Communication issues can cause major problems, so you want to nail this point down, 100%)

9) What is your working day like? (It is important to know when the construction and remodeling company you hire will arrive and depart and what to expect from their normal working day)

10) How will you clean up at the end of the day? (Sometimes homeowners have a skewed idea of what cleanup will entail. It's important we have clarity in this area and for obvious reasons) 

11) How and where will tools and materials be stored if the job spans multiple days? (You could have a bulldozer in front of your home for a week or more, depending on the project.  Wouldn't you like to know, so that again there are no surprises?)

12) What steps will you take to protect my property? (If you don't ask, don't be surprised when your bushes, shrubs are painted bright white or the color of your home's new paint).  

13) How will additional charges be dealt with? (Again, we want no surprises when it comes to cost affecting homeowner budget. All cards out on the table please!) 

14) Is there a warranty for your service or for the materials you’ll be using? (Many assume this point and do not ask for disclosure.  Just because something looks new, doesn't mean it is).  

15) How do we resolve any disagreements? (VERY important question!  What if your contractor simply doesn't show up to finish the work, or doesn't show up at all after they receive your first payment? As a result of what we've seen so much in the past, it's usually a good idea to avail yourself of homeowner rights and protections available in your state and share this with your contractor, unless you have a squeaky-clean history with them)

When you consider the horror stories, we've ALL heard, not enough can be said about being careful with how you proceed once you've researched and narrowed your selection process.  Whether you're simply doing a bathroom, kitchen, exterior remodel or major repair, you need to know what to expect moving forward.  Throughout our time in business, we've seen that most homeowners are simply hiring contractors based only on Google or Yelp reviews.  That is NOT a very smart, considering that reviews can be manipulated across the web and we never truly know who we're working with that has had issues with a bad reputation.  

Protection of your biggest asset depends on your due diligence and understanding that unless you ask the right questions, you really can't expect honesty across the board and from every contractor.  And while most homeowners seem to have homeowners' insurance, many of the policies won't protect from contractor negligence as we all know insurance companies are always looking for way NOT to pay claims.  

So, you must do your homework and also take the time to ask for things such as "before and after photos" of previous projects.  For example, if you need a concrete slab added to your yard, or driveway, ask for photos of previous concrete pours from the contractor you're considering.  If you're doing a bathroom remodel, you want to see these prior transformations.  If not, what do really have to look forward to?  Something mediocre, maybe?  Just saying! Custom countertops and cabinets require a keen eye and experience to achieve satisfactory results.  If you ask your contractor how many countertops, or cabinets remodels they've completed and they say "only one or two, BUT!" I'd run in the other direction!  

Lastly, if you think it's expensive to hire a professional, hire enough amateurs and you'll see that you truly get what you pay for.  You're free to learn the hard way, if you like.  Hopefully you've already learned this lesson.  Even still, where most of us seem to be money conscious, we know that focusing on cost alone is 9 times out of 10, BAD practice!  

Now we do realize it is hard to NOT give in to lower prices, though educated consumers are our BEST customers.  As a homeowner you need to be absolutely certain of what you're getting, don't you?  Wouldn't this include the actual materials being used in the project itself?  Will your contactor be using cheap paint, compressed particle board, or quality paints and real wood?  Is your contractor using 1/4-inch drywall, or 3/8"?  There is a marked difference in price as well as overall durability and longevity. Drywall replacement (With most contractor/remodeling companies comprise roughly 1/4 of contractor workload).  

One final thought here.  In all seriousness, if the contractor you're considering becomes annoyed, or upset by being asked 15-20 questions, it's normally a bad sign i our experience.  You (the homeowner) are allowed to be as nosey and careful as you want to be! And yes, take notes!  We've actually seen homeowners draw up contracts between the homeowner and contractor, remodeler to better protect themselves, though if you do your due diligence, this normally won't be necessary. If you have a shortage of competent contractors in your area, it's really not a bad idea at all. 

Protect your most valuable asset and don't become a victim!  Ask the right questions and you put yourself in the driver seat.  Whether you're building an addition on your home, merging two rooms into one, replacing a roof or repainting your home, we hope you now see the value of being extremely conservative in your approach to hiring a contractor, or remodeling specialist.  As always, Rhino Construction & Remodeling contractors are here to answer all your questions, providing peace of mind while you process and review your decision. 

We hope this article has helped.  We look forward to your feedback as well! 

Thank you for visiting our blog and remember, we're always at your service! 

News and Updates

What have we been up to

October 12, 2022
Protecting & Preserving Your Biggest Asset

One thing that is crystal clear in 2022 is the lack of competent and professional construction and remodeling contractors available to valley residents.  The complaints seem almost endless.  And with so much automation added, the personal touch these customers have grown accustomed to seeing over the years, has gone the way of artificial intelligence and […]

Read More
© Copyright 2020 - Rhino Construction & Remodeling LLC - All Rights Reserved
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram