Darlington Designs

Seven Risks to Watch For When Selecting a Home Renovation Contractor

Did you Know That the Most Important Decision You Make Regarding Your Home Renovation Project …

…is who you select to complete it? 

Who you choose as your contractor can make or break your remodeling project in terms of both quality and cost. If you want your project to be completed on time and according to your specific vision, then careful consideration and research are a must.

A simple internet search will generate an often overwhelming list of home renovation contractors. So, how do you know who can best meet your needs?

We hope to make it easy for you by explaining why you should choose Darlington Designs.

Known for our expert craftsmanship, we draw on more than 15 years of experience in home design and outdoor living, which includes pool and spa construction. As a one-stop shop for all your design and building needs, we offer a streamlined approach that ensures a quality experience for our clients from beginning to end.

As you begin to consider your options, it’s important to do your homework so that you’re informed about common risks associated with choosing a home renovation contractor.

Seven Risks to be Aware of When Hiring Home Renovation Contractors

Don’t enter into a home renovation project without taking steps to protect yourself against these common risks. Not all home renovation contractors are alike and not all results are equal—it’s important to do your due diligence beforehand.

Risk Number One: Not Properly Vetting Contractors

Although there are plenty of reliable general contractors, a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University shows that it’s relatively easy to start a contracting business. These researchers observed that “capital needs are generally modest and licensing and registration requirements for contractors are minimal in most communities.” 

In other words, standards aren’t stringent to become licensed as a contractor and you don’t need a lot of capital to get started. That means there are many less-than-qualified home improvement contractors out there. The report concludes that subcontractors associated with home renovation are “highly susceptible to failure.” 

Given this reality, properly vetting a potential contractor is essential. Some vetting methods might include:

    • Checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and state licensing agencies
    • Consulting with banks and trade vendors
    • Inspecting past projects by the company
    • Conducting background screens
Risk Number Two: Not Reading the Entire Legal Contract

Many people make the mistake of signing a contract without giving it a thorough read-through because they assume it’s unnecessary legal jargon. 

But, that contract is critical in determining your project agreement with the contractor you’ve chosen. It assures that liabilities and responsibilities are properly assigned. This protects you in the event that something goes wrong, or the contractor lays the blame on you. 

The contract should be tailored to your specific project. There are contractors that give the client a copy of the American Institute of Architects’ proposed contract, which is a general contract. Any contractor that does this is guilty of laziness and negligence––a negative reflection of their work quality.  

According to Ace Private Risk Services, a comprehensive contract should spell out the responsibilities of all parties and the scope of their work, as well as the materials that will be used and their respective costs. The contract should also include stipulations in regards to:

    • Terms of payment 
    • Sales tax 
    • Permit fees 
    • Warranties 
    • Start and end dates 
    • Change order processes 
    • Final review and sign-off procedures
    • Cost overruns 
    • Debris removal
Risk Number Three: Not Securing and Confirming Proper Insurance

A backyard, wide-planked patio with stone-faced fireplace, blue-patterned rug, couch, and firepit surrounded with green landscape.

Any home renovation project carries the risk of injury, making it important to ensure that the appropriate party is held responsible in the case of an accident. When you work with Darlington Designs, you can rest easy, knowing we are fully licensed and insured. 

If you opt to work with another contractor, however, you should ask a professional insurance agent to verify whether the contractor’s policy provides adequate coverage. 

You should notify your insurance broker of any planned renovation projects to ensure that qualifying losses are covered. Failing to notify your broker may result in larger deductibles or future policy limits.

Risk Number Four: Not Asking Enough Questions

Your home renovation project is an enormous undertaking that will require a significant amount of time, money, and effort. As a homeowner, you likely have many questions that deserve truthful answers. That’s why you should entrust the process to a home improvement contractor that is committed to keeping communication channels open.

When you work with Darlington Designs, we keep you apprised throughout the entire design and build process. We are more than happy to answer all of your questions and take the time to explain unfamiliar processes so that you are fully informed.

Risk Number Five: Not Ensuring Worksite Safety

This is critical not only to the workers’ safety, but to your family’s well being as well. 

All hazardous items and tools must be properly stored, the worksite should remain tidy and clean, and materials such as fencing and tarps should be securely fastened. 

Don’t take on the liability of starting a home renovation project until you understand how the contractors and subcontractors will handle worksite safety. Safety procedures should be included as provisions in the contract. You should also have the opportunity to ask these questions at the outset of the project.

Risk Number Six: Not Protecting Against the Elements

During a home remodeling project, there is a possibility that your home’s interior could be exposed to the weather. Proper precautions must be taken so that your belongings don’t get damaged and the architectural integrity of the home isn’t compromised. 

An experienced home improvement contractor has a standard operating procedure to ensure that the client’s home stays protected. For example, tarpaulins, also known as tarps, should be on hand at all times as an extra layer of protection. The crew should use backup draining systems to secure your home from water damage.

Risk Number Seven: Not Narrowing Your Selection

In most cases, you’ll need to hire more than one contractor for each stage of the renovation: one for design and one for construction. Each contractor will typically hire out parts of the work to subcontractors.

The more contractors you work with, the more risk you absorb. When you partner with Darlington Designs, all the work is conducted through a single Premier Contractor that handles the entire project––from design to build to project completion.

Select the Best Home Renovation Contractors Near You

If you’re looking for a home improvement contractor who has stood the test of time, then we encourage you to take advantage of our expert team at Darlington Designs. We proudly serve local neighborhoods in southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia region. You can contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or by calling us at 856-442-0440

Or, use our project forms to get in touch with us, which can be found at the bottom of our Outdoor Living and Construction pages.