How To Choose The Best Firm For Your Next Remodeling Project

The saying “Home is where the heart is” strikes a deep cord with homeowners everywhere including those residing in the Bay Area. Home is where our lives are centered. Home is where we relax and unwind, spend time with family and entertain friends, where we enjoy the holidays and special occasions. Because of this, more and more people are investing money in remodeling or redesigning their residences to create beautiful gathering spaces, safer living environments, and versatile homes.

How do you find the right remodeling professional that will make your remodeling vision a reality? Harrell Design + Build recommends the following guidelines to help you choose a professional design and remodeling firm:

  1. Ask for Recommendations
    There is no doubt about it… word of mouth is one of the best strategies to follow when selecting a remodeling professional.
    Residential remodeling can be tricky, thus the potential for lengthy and unexpected delays, budget overages, or costly mistakes. To avoid this, check with your local Chamber of Commerce, get recommendations from friends, and check online for references and reviews. See if certain businesses continue to be mentioned. When investigating remodeling firms, it is also a good idea to establish the level of complexity these companies are able to handle, and their experience with remodeling projects similar to yours.
  2. Credentials and Certifications Matter
    With a solid list of recommendations in hand, it’s time for some basic research on each firm.
    Really look through the firm’s website to see the qualifications of its designers, project managers, and carpenters. Like any vocation, recognized credentials and certifications from professional associations like the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) along with certifications including Certified Interior Designer (CID), Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), and Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) are important. Any seasoned and skilled remodeling professional will have invested time and money in course work and passed rigorous tests to earn these credentials and certifications.
  3. Get To Know Your Remodeling Professionals
    One of the best strategies for finding the best remodeling firms is to visit their offices. 
    Do they have a showroom with the latest materials and design concepts? When discussing design and remodeling ideas, do they include a professional designer in the conversation who can offer suggestions and apply these concepts to your project and lifestyle? Who would you be working with? How are projects like yours handled? How and when are payments made? Is there an open line of communication should you have questions or concerns? It is important to ask a lot of questions, but also make sure to listen closely to answers. The way remodeling professionals answer questions can be extremely important and revealing.
  4. Check References
    When conducting your due diligence on remodeling firms, ask to see some of the firm’s past projects.
    Get a good idea of the firm’s style and ability to solve challenging problems. When looking through the company’s portfolio of work, make sure to ask if you can call former clients to get a firsthand account of their project: Was the worksite clean and the workers respectful? Did the job get completed on time and on budget? What was the communication and planning process? All of these will give great insight into the overall professionalism and quality of the remodeling firm from someone who has employed their services.
  5. Check The Status of Their License
    After checking references and speaking with past clients, visit the Contractors State License Board and make sure the company is in good standing.
    Is their license active? When does it expire? Do the have any claims filed against them? Are they bonded and insured?
  6. Price Is Not The Most Important Criteria
    While every homeowner has a budget for their remodeling project, choosing a firm purely on the basis of cost can backfire.
    There is a lot of truth behind the saying, “You get what you pay for”, and when it comes to hiring a remodeling company these words are even more crucial. There are firms that will provide a very attractive quote on the project but when the rubber meets the road, they end up costing much more in lost time, poor workmanship, and inaccurate pricing. It is important to weigh all of the criteria including price in your decision. Everyone wants to get the most bang for our buck but when it comes to our home, the quality of work and inter-personal communication far outweigh saving a few dollars. The results will be worth it in the end.
    Recommendations, certifications, and being licensed, bonded and insured are all important aspects of finding the top remodeling firms. Finding a company with high-quality workmanship, who understands your lifestyle and distinct requirements, can solve challenging problems, is on the cutting edge of design, will stay on time and on budget, and with whom you have a solid professional rapport are also very key components to finding the right firm for your home remodel.

Since 1985, Harrell Design + Build has been designing and remodeling distinctive home all around the Bay Area. A Design + Build firm with locations in Palo Alto and Los Gatos , we invite you to contact us to find out more about how we work, talk to members of our team, and discover how we can make your remodeling dreams a reality!