Renovating a basement is an excellent investment that can give you a great ROI and make good use of your basement space. The success of your basement renovation project relies heavily on who you hire to handle the job. You need to ensure that you protect your investment by making decisions that will yield a positive outcome. With the increasing popularity of basement renovations, there are many renovation companies that claim to be the best in the industry. It is critical that you do your own research to ensure that whoever you hire is reputable.
How Do You Know Which One Is the Perfect Fit for You?
Let’s face it, there are many basement finishing contractors, and each one of them is vying for your business. In an attempt to get you to hire them, they will give you a slew of reasons why you should choose them. Unfortunately, there are some unprofessional contractors that can spell bad news for you if you choose to work with them. Not only will this be frustrating, in many cases you may end up needing to fork out even more money to hire someone else to fix their mistakes.
Basement renovations require skilled contractors to deal with plumbing and electrical systems. These can easily be damaged by somebody who does not know what they are doing. Knowing what questions to ask and what to look out for can help you weed out the bad contractors.
1. Know What You Want to Do with Your Basement
There are many basement contractors who have the ability to transform your basement into any kind of space. Then there are those who specialize in particular basement projects and have some additional perks that come with hiring them. An example of this is a contractor who specializes in transforming basements into home gyms and can give you some discount on home gym equipment due to their affiliation with certain manufacturers. This may be to your advantage depending on what you want to use your basement space for. This is why it is critical to know ahead of time exactly what you want out of your basement and look at your expenses beyond construction.
Conduct an online search for renovation companies and compile a list of possibilities. Ask people you know for referrals and be sure to check out customer reviews and testimonials on websites of the companies you are considering. Keep in mind that some companies publish fake reviews.
2. Avoid New Businesses and Companies
New companies tend to offer services at cheaper rates. This is because they are trying to establish themselves and take some business away from more established basement contractors by offering lower rates. Contractors that do not have good reviews are also notorious for offering cheaper pricing. Typically, new contractors are eager to get business and are often willing to go above and beyond to ensure they exceed your expectations. Unfortunately, the lack of experience can turn out to be costly for you. If a new company is on your shortlist of possible contractors for your project, there are some additional things you can do to ensure they are qualified for the job.
Find out about the contractors and how much experience they have. A new company may be new to the business, but their team may have a wealth of experience. Another reason to avoid new renovation companies is that most new companies are struggling with cash flow and may cut corners to make ends meet on their end. This is especially true if they offer you a cheap price. They have to make up the difference elsewhere and unfortunately, more than likely, it will be at your expense.
3. Ask for License and Relevant Permits
Credentials are important in helping you determine whether you can trust a particular contractor. If they do not have the necessary license to perform renovations, how can you trust them to do a good job on your project? Having a license means that the contractor has the qualifications and is recognized by the province as being capable of performing renovation work. Just because a company is in business doesn’t necessarily mean that they are licensed. Be sure to ask the company to show you their license. If they are unable to show you any documentation regarding their license or permits, do not hire them.
4. Ask people for recommendations
Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. Ask a friend or family member who has had work done on their basement to recommend a contractor for you. With the popularity of basement renovations, you will likely be able to find someone within your circle who has either had their basement renovated or knows somebody who has. If they have good things to say about the company, that is a plus. Sometimes, people will recommend the services of a family member who claims to be a basement renovator. Tread carefully regarding this. If things don’t go as planned, it could drive a wedge between all parties involved.
5. Talk to Several Basement Finishing Companies
Taking the time to speak to basement finishing companies can give you a good sense of how they conduct business and whether they are a good fit for your project. Ask them questions about their services, availability, and experience, and get to know what some of their priorities are. Find out how many projects they have completed and if there is a particular area they specialize in. Find out if they work with subcontractors, and if so, how long have they worked with them? You may also want to ask them how many contractors they have and if they can provide any references for you to follow up on. Feel free to ask them anything you want to know about their business so you can make an informed decision.
6. Take a Look at The Company’s Portfolio
Many companies include their best projects in their portfolio. As a general rule, a good portfolio should have a minimum of 10 projects and have pictures that give you a full picture of the projects at various stages — before, during, and after completion. Take the time to examine the workmanship and results. If their portfolio is not impressive, eliminate them from your list. If subpar work is the best they have to show you, that means you can probably expect less than their best when it comes to your project.
When all is said and done, you want to have confidence in the basement renovation company you entrust with your project. It may take you a while to find the right fit, but it will be time well spent.
Harmony Basements is proud to offer exceptional professional basement finishing. Contact us to find out more about our services. We are happy to answer your questions.