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Remodeling University: Choosing A General Contractor

Choosing the right general contractor for your project is the single most important decision you will make with regards to your remodeling work. The scope of this subject far exceeds that of a single blog post, so I expect to revisit this issue several times in future posts.

For starters, why is this such an important decision?
– Unlike an ‘off the shelf’ item’ your project is yet to be ‘manufactured’. Yet, the ‘factory’ qualities are unknown.
– Once a general contractor is hired, you are no longer dealing with a regular business transaction. You are now a ‘hostages’ along for the ride.
– The contractor’s knowhow, expertise, notions regarding quality and ethics, financial strength and so forth – all critical to the success of your work – are all unknowns for the most part.
– The contractor’s demeanor under pressure and when problems arise (and they will) will greatly affect your experience of the project and ultimate outcome
– Cost overruns and time overruns, so pathetically common in remodeling, could adversely affect your family and you and are mostly contractor related
– The ‘value proposition’ or ‘what you are getting for your money’ is entirely hinged on the contractor you hire
– Of course, there are the nightmarish scenarios associated with unsavory, aggressive and/or underhanded contractors (that our industry is full of, regrettably), which often result in job-abandonment, walk-aways (with padded pockets and little work completed), liens being filed by unpaid vendors or subs and the like.

So it is clear why this is a critical decision. Why than, do so many homeowners fail to make the right, or at least the best choice?

Well, the blame here is shared, I believe, by both the contractors and the owners:
– Regrettably, some of the more shady and aggressive contractors out there are also some of the most accomplished companies as far as sales are concerned.
– Much like con artists that could be charming, charismatic and endearing, so are some of the salespeople working for such companies. It is almost too easy to be misled
– Mediocre contractors (and worse) compete on price alone. They would often be among the lower bidders
– Greed is a powerful motivator. Affordability is almost as strong. When homeowners want a more involved project than they can afford, they sometimes lose some common sense and better judgment when faced with a ‘great’ (read: too good to be true) bid.
– With so many contractors out there and with the ‘urban myth’ of the ‘get 3 estimates’ guiding homeowners’ hiring practices, odds are the homeowners choice for a contractor would be the wrong one.

For starters, I strongly recommend downloading and reading our free report: “The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make Before Remodeling that YOU must avoid”. You will find this report on our Home page (www.megabuilders.com) at the top right corner.

Beyond that, read through our articles and elsewhere about best practices for hiring a contractor. You will find more about this right here, in future posts, so please feel free to come back.

Happy remodeling!

Remodeling University: Manage Your Mindset First for a successful Los Angles Remodeling

Hi,
Home remodeling projects, large and small, place unusual demands on homeowners.

In the best of cases (if you chose your general contractor well), you will need to deal with noise, interruptions to water and power services, strangers in your home on a daily basis, significant disruption to the family’s routine and so forth.
You’ll also be the point person for a team of players that might not always see eye to eye with each other and/or with you.
All of this – in addition to whatever you have going on in your life already. A challenge indeed!

Before you can manage others and be positive and proactive under the stress introduced by a remodeling project, your best bet is to manage your state of mind.
I have worked with homeowners that were a great asset to their own project. They were in control of their emotions, they made a point to compliment the workers and other team members, they appreciated others’ efforts and showed it, they addressed problems proactively and ran their projects in a business like fashion, avoiding making problems (which will always come up in remodeling) personal or larger than what they actually were. This type of attitude inspires and motivates everyone that is involved in a project. The atmosphere is positive and the results are somehow always better.

As importantly, with this attitude, the homeowner’s own experience is cast in a positive light and the project is much less of a burden as a result.

My advice: before embarking on a project, take a deep mental breath. Vow to be a positive and a supportive center of influence. Tell yourself (and internalize the notion) that you are about to embark on an adventure. One that is going to be challenging but fun and rewarding. Prep your family in advance and solicit their participation in the adventure. They should all share in shouldering the responsibilities. They should all be kept informed about what is going on. They should all take ownership of the process and have a vested interest in the outcome (a great way to accomplish that is by soliciting everyones’ input regarding certain design decisions, for example).

With the right attitude and spirit…and with the right team at your side, you will remember your project ‘days’ fondly for a long time. You will remember the project as a challenging, rewarding and successful experience. More importantly, you will enjoy the results that much more for years to come and, unlike the vast majority of folks that remodeled their homes, you will have great and positive tales to share.

Happy remodeling!