Darlington Designs
Back view of a brown, renovated home with an outdoor patio.

Top Seven Risks to Look Out for When Selecting Home Renovation Contractors

Did You Know that One of the Most Important Parts of Your Home Renovation Project…

…is who you select to complete it? 

Who you choose can make or break your project, so careful consideration and research must be taken into account.

With just a quick internet search, an overwhelming list of home renovation contractors will generate. So, how do you know who to choose? 

We’ll make it easy–choose Darlington Designs. 

We have more than 15 years of experience in the fields of home design, construction, and outdoor living, as well as pools and spas. As a “one-stop shop” for our clients, we streamline the design and build processes, making the experience as stress free and enjoyable for our clients as possible. 

While we encourage you to select us as your professional home renovation contractor, we understand that you want to make that decision for yourself. 

Regardless of who you decide to work with, it’s important to do your homework and be aware of some common risks to look out for when deciding which home renovation contractors to hire.

Seven Common Risks to Be Aware of When Hiring Your Home Renovation Contractors

It’s important to learn about these seven important risks when choosing your home renovation contractors.

Risk #1: Not Properly Vetting Contractors

Although there are plenty of reliable general contractors, according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, contracting businesses can be started with extreme ease. They noted that “capital needs are generally modest and licensing and registration requirements for contractors are minimal in most communities.” They also conclude that subcontractors involved in home renovation projects are “highly susceptible to failure.” 

Given this, it’s important that any potential contractors that you are considering for hire be properly vetted. Some vetting methods include: 

    • Getting references from friends and family
    • Checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and State Licensing Agencies
    • Consulting with banks and trade vendors
    • Inspecting past jobs
    • Conducting background screens
Risk #2: Not Thoroughly Going Over the Legal Contract

Many are quick to sign a legal contract without thoroughly looking over it, thinking it is a bunch of unnecessary legal jargon.

The contract is a critical component of your overall agreement with the contractor you work with. It assures that any liabilities and responsibilities are properly assigned, thereby protecting you in the event something goes wrong, or the contractor tries to assign blame on you. 

It is also important to ensure that the contract is tailored to your specific project. Many contractors will provide the client with a copy of the American Institute of Architects’ proposed contract, which is a general contract. 

According to Ace Private Risk Services, a comprehensive contract should spell out the responsibilities of all parties and the scope of their work, in addition to the materials that will be used and their respective costs. The terms of payment, sales tax, permit fees, warranties, start-and-end dates, change-order processes, final review and sign-off procedures and the removal of debris are other factors that should be clearly stipulated. Cost overruns should also be addressed, as the workload almost always changes.

Risk #3: Not Securing and Confirming Proper Insurance

Detailed look at renovated outdoor patio, featuring a brick fireplace with a TV, and some blue and white furniture. Home renovation projects can sometimes be risky in nature, so it’s important to ensure that if an accident happens on the job, that the appropriate party is responsible. When you work with Darlington Designs, you can rest easy knowing we are fully licensed and insured. 

If you work with another party though, a professional insurance agent can verify whether or not the contractor and subcontractors’ policies provide adequate coverage. 

It is also important (if applicable) for you to notify your insurance broker of any renovation projects that you are about to begin to ensure that any qualifying losses are covered. Failing to notify your broker may result in larger deductibles or policy limitations.

Risk #4: Not Asking Enough Questions

Your home renovation project is a huge undertaking that requires a significant amount of time, money, and effort. So naturally, there are a ton of questions that come to mind on the homeowner’s end. It is important to entrust this process with the right contractors who are willing to answer all of your questions and keep an open channel of communication. 

When you work with Darlington Designs, we keep you informed and up-to-date throughout the entire design and build process. We are more than happy to not only answer all of your questions, but also take the time to educate you on processes you may not know or understand.

Risk #5: Not Ensuring Worksite Safety

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

All hazardous items and tools need to be properly stored, the worksite should remain as tidy and clean as possible, and appropriate safety structures, such as fencing and tarps, should be securely fastened. 

This should all be discussed in detail with the contractors and subcontractors present on-site.

Risk #6: Not Protecting Against the Elements

During a home renovation project, there is a likelihood that the interior of the home could be exposed to the outside weather. It is important to take the proper precautions in order to ensure belongings don’t get damaged and the architectural integrity of the home isn’t compromised. 

For example, tarpaulins, or tarps, should be on-hand at all times to protect exposed parts of the house, and backup drainage systems should be at the ready.

Risk #7: Not Narrowing Your Selection

Most of the time, you’ll need to hire more than one home renovation contractor for each stage of the home renovation project: one for design and one for build. Plus, each of those contractors usually hire subcontractors to help carry out their work. 

The more contractors you work with, the more risk you absorb. When you choose to work with Darlington Designs, you work with one premier contractor that handles the entire project from design to build.

Select the Best Home Renovation Contractors Near You

Contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or by calling us at 856-442-0440. We proudly serve local neighborhoods in southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia region. 

Also, feel free to contact us via our project forms on our site. The project forms can be found at the bottom of our Outdoor Living and Construction pages.