How to choose Remodeling Contractor OCSIB
By Raven Scott
March 17, 2022
0:00 / 18:51
Tiffany00:27

. Welcome to OCSIB sanctuary interior design and bath. This page is here to educate you on your next home improvement project.

Kim00:37

Right? So today we're going to talk about. What happens when you've already decided. Okay, this is, I want to do my kitchen, or I want to do my, my window and I kind of selected or not select, but have considered a few potential contractors to hire what happens when they come into my home.

What questions should I be asking? What should I be looking out for? And then ultimately, how do I decide, on one contractor, as opposed to another.

Tiffany01:08

Yeah, I think it's really important because these are big projects. This is your home. This is something that you, your pride and joy. And so the last thing you want is a nightmare of a project to drag on for months and months or a contractor just drop and leave.

And, we've heard nightmare after nightmare of all these different scenarios that can happen. That just are extremely stressful. Your money is gone and yet the work is not done. So this is really, I think, important for us to educate you. And we're passionate about making sure that, you know, about red flags.

What are some red flags to determine if , you're choosing the right contractor? So I'm excited to get into these questions. So, , Kim, do you want to share with us, let's say you're, you've called somebody. They look legit, the website looks like. They come out to the home. And what are like some opener questions that you can give

our

viewers?

Kim02:03

Well, I mean, the first thing I would say is, you know, you got to be kind of careful and take it with a grain of salt in terms of their website, the marketing, because that's all it is. It's just marketing. And at the end of the day marketing, isn't the thing that's going to get you a project done.

Okay. It's the actual, how long they've been in business. You know, what the track record is because really, you know, past performance is going to be an indicator of future performance. Okay. The other thing people always have concerned about or worried about is the cost, right? Like you also got to look at it this way. Quality isn't going to be cheap. And if you want something cheap, you're probably not going to get quality. At the end of the day, your home is your biggest investment. Right? And I go into homes all the time and I see these people were so concerned about, costs and that's all they're concerned about, but they don't have a problem going out.

And then, you know, filling up their car tank with premium gas on the, on depreciating asset. But they want us to do the cheapest that they can do on their home. And that just a mistake.

Tiffany03:18

Yeah. Cause you ended up paying double because you, you pay for the cheapest labor, the cheapest product. And then a couple of years down the line, maybe even less than that, a leak occurs or, there's mold in there.

There's you have to redo the whole thing all over again. And usually when there's issues like that, you have to tear everything out and it's more expensive.

Kim03:40

Right. Because, you know, they can show you all the materials and then you may like it. But realize that installation is a very, very big part of the project, right.

Because of the stuff is not installed right. Then it's not any good, no matter how good it looks, you know, when they show it.

Tiffany04:00

So going to that Kim, if it was our home, what would you be looking for? What kind of questions would you

Kim04:06

be asking?

Well, I want to make sure that, they're insured. first of all , they have liability insurance that workman's comp. And I want to see, you know, what, type of materials they're going to be using, cause some contractors, they don't supply any materials.

Do some sort of homework on the company that you having to come into your house, and you can find that information on Facebook or on Yelp, right? Just, I would caution on Yelp. Just really be careful about what you read on there and why they got a one star as opposed to a five star.

Some of it, you know, the one start that get may not have to anything to do with their

work.

Tiffany04:46

Well, they, I get really emotional over their home project. So that's, yeah, I would say more of the better business bureau or, , the contractors.

Kim04:56

if you're in California, they have the cslb.ca.gov that you can go to.

Because it's the contractor state licensing board, and then they oversee contractors in the state. And so there, you can find information on how long they've been in business. You know, they have workman's comp, they have liability insurance if they've had, , any sort of suspension or complaints. So you can see all those things.

And I would definitely suggest that you do that.

Tiffany05:31

Okay. All right. So let's say you did all that homework. They come out now. What are some phrases that you should be listening for, that they are saying that are good signs that they're reputable?

Well, they'll

Kim05:45

tell you how long they've been in business. And then, you know, so if you've done your whole.

You would have known how long they'd been in business, just by going to the state website

Tiffany05:55

But it's good to double check what they say.

Kim05:56

Right. And so some, some people will say, well, we've been in business for 30 years, and then you go on the website and you look, and they've only been around for two years. Right.

Tiffany06:05

And that's not on their website, that's on the contractor board website.

Kim06:08

Correct.

Right. And so what they're saying is they may have 30 years experience. And that could be they combined that with their dad, with their uncle, with, , the dog or whatever. Right. And they combine all altogether. And we have 30 years of a home improvement experience when they've only been in business for two years.

, so that would be one red flag. Right? The other thing is if they don't have workman's comp, that's not somebody you want to do business with because if someone, you know, got hurt on the property, you end up being liable for their injuries.

Okay. the other thing that I always look at is, you know, whether or not they offer financing. Well, you may not even want to use financing, which is perfectly okay. But if they do offer financing, then that means that the financing company, some third parties won't take a chance on. Okay.

Tiffany06:59

Well Ya.,

they're really legit financing.

That's risky.

Kim07:05

Right. So, so that's something you, you want to consider it too. And then in terms of, , what kind of product they're offering, what kind of warranty the offering. So, you know, most people will say they want a quality product. They want a company who's gonna be around to service them in the event.

They have any issues. Right. And then, you know, at the end of the presentation, obviously you want to see how much it's gonna cost. Right. So a lot of companies will come out, they'll look at it and some of them will send you, an email. Okay. Others will give you the price right there. And then, and then, they will tell you, okay, this price is good for a year and then they'll do a price drop and say, you know, if you move forward within the next 30 days, you can get some more savings.

If you move forward today, you know, all of a sudden the $18,000 project is now going to be $11,000. Don't fall for that. Okay. If they drop from 18,000 to 11,000 on that visit was that project ever really worth 18,000. Okay.

Tiffany08:15

They still have to make profit. So that 11 is

including.

Kim08:18

Yeah. So that, that, that 11 is probably the real price.

Okay. And they just do these price drops in order to get you to do it. Now there's nothing wrong. If you actually love the product and you trust them and you move forward with that. All I'm saying is don't feel pressured to do that because you feel like, oh, they dropped like $7,000. I'm going to save $7,000 if I move forward today.

Okay. The thing is you just gotta really be careful about, okay. So the 11,000 or whatever price they come up, right. Is that inclusive or after you come into my home and you do a demolition, then you're going to tell me here's the change order there's another $3,000.

Tiffany09:05

Yeah. That's always the nightmare, especially with the smaller companies.

Is they don't account for everything upfront. They don't even account for plumbing, like you open the wall, there's going to be. Maybe old house plumbing issues and they don't really account for that. And so then you have to pitch in more money that you weren't anticipating.

Cause you were thinking right, the day you agree, like that's the amount and then it's locked

in your head.

Kim09:30

Right. And you know, right now we're in a situation where everything should be taking longer, just because of supply chain issues. But if you do get a contractor who say, Hey, I can do this tomorrow.

You really got to question whether or not it's really worth it. You may want to do tomorrow, but if they're not even busy and they can do the job tomorrow. , nobody wants them.

Tiffany09:58

When was their last job? Where's the material coming from? Like secondhand scraps. It's not a full slab. Cause you have to, you know, unless it's in the yard, you have to wait for the full

slab to come.

Kim10:10

So the other thing that I've seen people get stuck on is they'll say, yeah, we're going to start tomorrow. They come and they really don't do anything except they demolish. Okay. And then. And then they're not coming back to whenever.

Tiffany10:25

Now you have no bathroom for like three months.

Kim10:26

Correct. But the reason why they do that is because now they have you. Okay.

They already demolish it. Right. And so if you try to back out, they've already done the work and then they're going to say, okay, well, we got charge you whatever. The other thing is, you know, whatever state you live in, you need to figure out how much the contractor can take as a deposit. Okay. In California, the most they can take as a thousand dollars.

That's it. Okay. So that's the other red flag. If they say, $5,000 and , you can pay later or what have you, then, that's

illegal.

Tiffany11:04

I have a question. Can they, legally, after you pay. Let's say they follow the a thousand dollars. They come the next day. They demo. Can they legally collect another installment or is there a certain time or phase that goes by that they can

collect

Tiffany11:19

another?

Kim11:19

No, unless there are materials, they can't no. Okay.

Tiffany11:24

they really shouldn't be demoing until they have materials. That again is a sign.

Cannot

collect after they. Until they have materials,

Kim11:31

Yeah, because, okay. So they, they demolish it, and be, wow, you can start and you can demolish it. Okay. Then what? When when is my actual installation?

Okay. So you got really talked about those things. When will you be able to start? And then once you start, how long is it going to take..

Tiffany11:52

I would say that's a red flag. Honestly, if the consumer has to ask all those leading questions too, like when the professional company set all that up, say, okay, we're not going to install until we have your materials.

Like no, should be things that, again, that would be a red flag. If you're feeling like you're not getting that information, you have to ask for it. That's a huge red flag. That's probably not the contracts you want to work with..

Right.

Kim12:13

And then, you know, are they going to use subcontractors or not? Then the issue is then, okay. The subcontract that did the work on your house, right? And then you pay the contractor and then the contractor decides to keep all the money and not pay the subcontractor. Now, the subcontractor has already done work in your house. They're going to put a lien on your house.

So now you got yourself a nightmare. Yeah. Okay. You, you feel like you already pay for that whole job?

Tiffany12:44

So most do that though. Already. So how do you avoid

that scenario?

Kim12:48

Well, th there has to be something in the agreement. Okay. That, uh, the money you paid them take care of all the subcontractor and they have to indemnify you for any lawsuits.

Okay.

Tiffany13:00

So it has to be in writing it's on the contract or not.

Kim13:04

Right. Okay. Now that's not going to stop people. People are going to Sue. They're going to just gonna Sue. Okay. But at least you have something in writing. And the other thing is because you're doing something at your house, all these things should be in writing.

Tiffany13:17

Now what about companies who have employees that install versus subcontractors.

Well, then

Kim13:23

you know that you're not going to run into that issue. Right. If they're just having employees install it, then you're not going to have to worry about a subcontractor putting a lien on your house because they weren't paying it yet.

I hear that the most right. Is lack of communication where you, you know, you sign the contract, you gave them money and then you don't hear anything. So I asked, okay. So when is the next time I'm going to hear from you and what kind of communication would you say? Uh, giving me, is it mostly email that they're going to send you any sort of updates?

how long before you actually do insulation? Okay. And how will I know that when is the next time you're going to call me to get me some sort of installation date?

Tiffany14:11

Can you give us like a fake answer versus a real legitimate, and they're going to call you, right.

Cause someone could say, they're going to call you and then never call you.

Kim14:19

When I go into the home, I, I tell the customer that, okay, so now.

, the next step is we're going to order the material. Okay. And once we order materials, we'll give you a call to let you know that the materials have been ordered. Okay. Then the next conversation that you will probably have from us is we'll call you to let you know the materials have come in. Okay.

Then at that point, we'll check for the materials, make sure that nothing has been damaged in transit. And then we'll call you and give you an installation. Okay. Okay. And at that point you can say, you know what, those states don't work for me, but these dates do. Right. The other thing that the, , the consultant whoever's in your home should be telling you is how long will it take to install it?

Okay. So that, you know, so you can plan vacation, you can plan, you know, to, to have the dog in daycare. Or whatever. Right. So, and if they're not giving you all that stuff, then maybe the, the consultant isn't well versed in what he or she is doing. Okay. So that's the be a sign for you too.

Because any legitimate company who's done this for a long time and you're not hiring a contractor.

Who's telling you. he or she is a specialist in the bathroom. That's your project when they actually do roofing. So, you know, if they do do bathrooms or they do do windows and that's your project, they should know how long it's going to take.

One of the last thing I want to talk about is, , you know, getting three bids, I hear that a lot, right. People have this idea that, you know, before they purchase anything, they should go get. , the problem is how do you know you selected the right company, but even after three days, quite frankly, even after 10 bids, right.

The reality of it is, and sadly, so, , most companies go out of business. , a high percentage in the nineties go out of business, within five years.

So, because most of them go out of business within five years. That warranty may not be any good at all. So remember, before I said that past performance is a good indicator of future performance, that really is one of the key things that you need to to accept.

When people have a list of questions to ask me, that means that they did the homework. And since I know I'm offering a quality product, I don't shy away from that. I want to answer everything because I don't want anybody to have any surprises. I want the job that goes smoothly as possible for me, for the homeowner.

I want to make sure that when my installers come in that they have all the information they need. I will put that in the notes. . They want to make sure that, they all wear booties.

. Or they all wear masks. So all these are concerns that I will take great care to ask my potential customer, to make sure that they have a very smooth experience.

And I'll do that the same for you. You just call me and then ask me, okay, Kim, this is what I intend to do with my house. What questions should I be asking to make sure that I'm on the right track?

Tiffany17:27

This has been so informative thoroughly beneficial. So I really, truly, , hope everyone has, gleaned some really great information from this. We are here to help you with your project as well. If you'd like to contact us, we can have a conversation with you more in detail about your specific project.

Kim17:46

Right. I just want to make sure that the information is out there and that, you know, you have a smooth project because when you don't, it reflects on all of us in the business and that's not what I want to see happen. And, you know, remember there's a reason why there's a saying if it's too good to be true, it's probably is. Keep that in mind, please.

Yeah. Okay. All right. Good luck with your project.