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Part 3 | Tips: Your First Meeting with Preselected Remodelers

In part three of our series of how to choose a remodeling company to work with, we will discuss your first meeting with your preselected remodelers. First and foremost, in this new relationship common courtesy is a must, and professional remodelers understand this fact. If a remodeler fails to show up for your first meeting or is considerably late, cross that one off your list.

All principal parties should be present for your initial and all subsequent meetings. This includes the remodeler and all household decision makers. Given the number of interviews you will have, plus the number of subsequent design and planning meetings you'll have once you settle on a remodeling company, this requirement may seem unreasonable. But it's absolutely essential for all parties to participate fully in this process and for everyone to operate with equal information.

Here are some questions you should ask the remodeler during your first meeting:

Business Identity

  • Who owns the company?
  • Who is responsible for the company?
  • Are you a licensed and insured contractor?
    • Ask for copy of their license and insurance.
    • How many remodeling or building companies have you owned?  Scrupulous contractors in the past would file a bankruptcy on one company when they got in trouble with the state and file for a new company under a new name.
  • Will permits be obtained for this job?
    • In almost all remodeling cases a permit is most likely needed.
  • If a permit is required, who will file for and obtain the permit?
    • Beware of the contractor who wants you to obtain the permit.
  • Have you completed a project like this before?
  • How does your company handle a project like this?
  • What is the timeframe from beginning to end for a project like this?

Business Practices

  • How does the company maintain good customer relations throughout the construction and warranty period?
  • What will the payment or draw schedule look like?
  • How does the company ensure that warranty service complaints are effectively handled?
  • In the case of any accident, is the company insured against workers’ compensation claims, property damage, or personal liability?

Building Practices

  • Who will be assigned as the project manager or lead carpenter?
  • Who will be the contact if that person is not available?
  • Will a supervisor be on the site?
  • Will the company provide a written remodeling schedule?
  • What's the company's routine regarding regular meetings with the homeowners during the remodeling project?
  • Who will attend those meetings?  Will the remodeler personally attend every meeting?
  • Does the remodeler plan to stay personally involved in the project at all points?

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. In fact, it should help you generate other questions.  Asking good, detailed questions is the heart of your research. If you don't question thoroughly, you're giving up your responsibility in this process and possibly compromising the quality of your project.

Stay tuned for part four of our series on how to narrow the field of remodeling companies you would like to work with.



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