by Marcus Pickett
Preliminary guidelines for finding and choosing a bathroom remodeling contractor are the same as other home improvement contractors: Get at least three estimates, check recent customer referrals, make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. Yet, as you begin to dive deeper into the bathroom remodeling process, additional, more nuanced factors come into play. Given the likelihood that you'll find more than one qualified contractor, here are some insider tips that will help you choose the best person for the job.
Once you've taken the universal steps to identify experienced and reputable remodeling contractors, often you can make your final hiring decision by setting your budget. High-end bathroom remodeling companies will usually set you up with an in-house bathroom designer and/or a project manager who will allow you to use a larger remodeling budget to the greatest effect. A more budget-friendly bathroom remodeling company will require a more proactive approach from the homeowner in terms of bathroom design and generic, discounted products.
Naturally, most homeowners seek out a middle ground for both their budgets and the level of bathroom remodeling services. To illustrate this choice and to give you some idea of bathroom remodeling budgets, it's useful to look at two different sources for average bathroom remodeling costs:
1) Remodeling Magazine determines the average cost of bathroom remodeling based on set parameters that include several upgrades
and comprehensive bathroom overhauls that homeowners frequently forego during their own remodels. Their estimated cost for a
bathroom remodel is $15,899.
Check out Remodeling Magazine for more information.
2) ServiceMagic tracks the average cost of bathroom remodels as actually negotiated and completed by homeowners and contractors. These projects include both minor and partial remodels, as well as high-end remodels with all the bells-and-whistles. Their estimated cost for a bathroom remodel is $9,712.
As homeowners start looking at new bathroom components, they quickly discover which fixtures they like - an elongated toilet with a wood seat covering, for example, or a cartridge faucet with white ceramic, double handles. But with all the research and attention on products, too many homeowners neglect the ordering process. Will the contractor contact the manufacturer and be responsible for the purchase and delivery of these products? Will you do it yourself? What happens if you fall in love with a manufacturer the contractor doesn't usually deal with? What happens if you change your mind during the remodeling process?
These questions come up more often than most homeowners realize. Ask prospective remodeling contractors exactly what their standard operating procedure is for ordering products. Often, the best overall price for your bathroom remodel will come from a mixed approach. Let the contractor order products from manufacturers with whom they have frequent relations and built-in discounts, but be sure you can order your own products, too, so that you can take full advantage of classic, free-market competition. Finding a bathroom remodeling contractor who is willing to stay flexible in this regard often leads to the best remodeling projects.
The best contractors also tend to be the most popular contractors. So expect your contractor to be working on many projects at once. They can juggle these projects because the best contractors are also effective communicators who will give you a clear schedule, advanced notice about changes to this schedule, and near constant updates about the progress of the remodel. Plus, virtually all remodels experience delays of some kind. Manufacturers are notoriously unreliable with their estimated delivery dates. Water damage may be discovered behind the walls of your bathroom. By the time it's all said and done, the average time to complete a bathroom remodel is about five weeks, according to data collected by ServiceMagic. And, for most, if not all, of this time, the bathroom will be completely out of commission, so you'll need to prepare and alter your bathroom routine accordingly.
-- Marcus Pickett is a senior home improvement writer with ServiceMagic.com. He has written more than 1200 articles on managing your home and home improvement trends.