Pasadena 2018-11-29T17:16:13+00:00

Pasadena Home Improvement Categories, Remodeling Tips & Top Contractors in Pasadena

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PASADENA CONTRACTORS

Finding a contractor can be just as stressful as the home renovation itself. How do you know you’ve found a company reliable and trustworthy or even where to begin finding a Pasadena contractor? Well, there are a few things you can do to ease the burden and begin your search that will also help verify the person or team you’ve hired is reputable. This isn’t just about calling every general contractor in Pasadena, that would create a head-spinning conga-line of quotes. It’s best to start with people who’ve already done the legwork and that can give you a more inside view of working with a particular contractor in Pasadena. Here are three tips that will help narrow your search and give you a legitimate list of general contractors.

1) Look at Yard Signs in Pasadena

Next time you’re wandering the neighborhood or driving around town, take note of the houses that are having some remodeling done. Most general contractors put signs in the windows or the yard of the home they’re working in, it’s great and free advertising. They get to let all of Pasadena know that not only were they hired but they’re proud of the work they’ve done. When you see the sign in someone’s yard that means this Pasadena contractor has already been vetted and if the homeowners are happy with the work they’ll leave the sign in the yard for a bit after. You’ve just learned two important things about the general contractors: they did good work and they were thought well enough of to be hired in the first place. This is a Pasadena contractor you may want to give a call and get a quote from.

2) Pasadena Hardware Stores

Being in any business means you would naturally network with others in your field, even if not on purpose. While growing in our professions we tend to work with others in our field and develop work relationships with them. The same is true for general contractors. They would need to get their tools and equipment from someone and it’s probably the hardware stores in and around town. Many of the same hardware shops and stores you would go to also service local Pasadena general contractors and if they have a good relationship or have done business in the past you may see an ad for them in the shop. If needing some work done in your home and seeing such a sign, ask the person their thoughts on the contractor or the work they do. Perhaps the store has an ongoing relationship with the contractor or they’ve done work for the owner him or herself. Even if there isn’t a sign, ask at the employees at the hardware store. Them being local to you means they’ll probably know a good Pasadena contractor and perhaps that little tip will get you a deal. No shame in name dropping!

3) Pasadena Builder’s Associations and the Better Business Bureau

There are many organizations that cater specifically to home renovation or repair laborers and help to maintain a directory of legitimate Pasadena contractors. Think of it as the yellow pages for general contractors, except all of them have been vetted and shown to have licenses as well as certified to do general contracting in Pasadena. Another thing about reaching out to your local Builder’s Association or Better Business Bureau is that they can tell you if a general contractor has any complaints against them or suspicious practices, perhaps references. Calling one of these organizations will take the pressure off and ease any anxiety you may have about whether or not you’re working with a reputable general contractor. It isn’t like they just mail in their information to be listed, these organizations exist as a kind of watchdog group. Use what they’re there for and know you’re hiring a licensed and legitimate Pasadena contractor.

Home repairs or renovations can be just as stressful as moving, pricing out the labor, shopping for a local contractor, and making sure you’re not being swindled. While this list isn’t exhaustive and there are a few other avenues you can take, these 3 tips will get the ball rolling on finding a reliable Pasadena contractor. Good work doesn’t have to be determined after the work is done when there are choices to make before hiring someone. You have resources to ease the anxiety and know that when you hire your general contractor, you did your due diligence and can be a bit more at ease.

3 STEPS TO A HAPPY

PASADENA

REMODELING EXPERIENCE

STEP 1

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF & SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PITFALLS IN PASADENA

 

STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL REMODELING CONTRACTOR IN PASADENA

 

STEP 3

ESSENTIAL POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR REMODELING CONTRACT IN PASADENA

 

Pasadena Home Improvement Categories

Architect
Bathroom
Closet Organization
Driveway
Asbestos Abatement
Fence
Flooring
Granite Marble & Stone
Water Improvement
Insulation & Acoustics
Interior Design
Landscaping
Locks & Security
Painter
Pool & Spa
Roofer Pasadena
Solar
Tile
Awning
Cabinetmaker
Decking
Drywall
Electrical
Fire Prevention
Garage Doors
Handyman
Windows & Doors
HVAC
Interior Decorator
Kitchen
Lighting
Home Entertainment
Plumber
Remodeling
Shutter & Blinds
Stucco

STEP 1

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO ENSURE
A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
QUESTION ANSWER
1. How do I know how much it will cost to achieve the look I want and how long it will take? 1. Select a few local contractors and get a ballpark estimation of cost and timeframe.
2. How can I make sure I don’t get fooled or robbed? 2. Find out the approximate average market cost in your local area before you decide on a budget. This gives you the power of negotiation with your contractor
3. Whom should I trust and how far should I trust a contractor? 3. Trust those whose attitude is that the client is king – or queen – and make sure you have a strong contract.
4. What type of planning should I do? 4. Do your research, have an idea of project cost and know your own budget. Know the timeline you expect.  Consider possible pitfalls that could arise.
See our checklist: Solutions to Common Pitfalls
5. How do I know what type of quality is right for me? 5. Consider your needs and your desires combined with the reality of your budget.
6. How can I improve and individualize the final result by using my own creativity or DIY? 6. Consult with your designer and browse ideas in magazines, websites and blogs such as:  
7. How can I make sure that the contractor is responsible for the performance of any subcontractors? 7. Put it in your contract.
8. How can I negotiate with my contractor? 8. Know the terminology contractors use. Know the ballpark local cost. Don’t be afraid be say when you don’t understand. Make sure the contractor does not rush you but takes the time to sit and explain everything. Be specific and clear in your needs and wishes.
9. Should I use a designer and can my designer take charge and manage the project? 9. For larger projects a designer can save you time, money and produce a better end result.  The designer should be checking the quality of work and products side by side with you, the client.
10. How do I choose a designer? 10. Make sure the designer is reliable, with a good reputation and references. Make sure you have the same aesthetic. The designer should offer a fair payment schedule, linked to the payment schedule of the contractor that protects you through to the end of the project. Schedule should be based on project progress rather than dates.
11. How do I ascertain whether references are genuine? 11. a) Referral from a friend
b) Reviews from sites that are cross referenced – Yelp, Houzz, Better Business Bureau c) Listen to the contractor’s answers to questions about other projects.

STEP 1

SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PITFALLS TO ENSURE
A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
POSSIBLE PITFALLS SOLUTIONS
1. Going over budget. 1. Declare your budget to be at least 15% less than you can actually afford.
2. Feeling shy and uncomfortable because your budget is small. 2. However small your budget, still declare it to be 15% less than you can afford. Don’t feel pressured into going over. Stick to your plan.
3. Feeling more like a victim than a client. 3. Choose a contractor who believes that the client is king – or queen!
4. Not planning for unexpected costs such as finding dry rot or termites. 4. That is what the extra 15% is there to cover. Assume you will need it.
5. Assuming that your plumbing, electrical circuits, subflooring etc. are adequate to support your remodel. 5. Check with a specialist before going ahead, particularly if it is a big project. The fundamental structures may have to be upgraded. Better to find out before you embark on your project, not once you are committed.
6. Assuming that you will be able to easily and frequently communicate with your contractor. 6. 2-way communication is vital. Make sure your contractor listens to you, as much as you listen to him. Make sure you feel comfortable with your contractor during the selection process.
7. Letting your contractor act as a designer as well. 7. Designing and contracting are two different jobs. Hire a designer who can monitor the contractor’s work.
8. Underestimating the time it takes to choose colors, finishes, appliances etc. 8. Unless you are willing to spend your days, weekends and evenings looking at tiles and comparing faucets, hire a designer who will make the process smoother and quicker.
9. Assuming that your contractor will not have conflicts with his subcontractors that can affect your timeline. 9. Make sure your contract covers this and has a penalty clause if the project is not finished on time.
10. Receiving lower quality than you were promised. 10. Obtain a detailed breakdown on the scope of work of the products and brands to be used.
11. Having difficulty getting the final touch ups finished off properly. 11. Hold back the last payment until the final walk through and you are totally satisfied.
12. Assuming your project will finish on time and planning an event accordingly. 12. Always assume your project will take 50% longer. You will be far less stressed. Of course don’t say this to your contractor! If it finishes on time, it is a bonus.

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STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL CONTRACTOR
FOR A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
1. Will I need a permit for my renovation and if so, can you arrange that for me?

How long will it take to get the permit?

2.

How many similar projects have you done in this neighborhood in the last year?

3.

What type of warranties do you give on this type of project?

What does the warranty cover?

4. From your experience, are there any surprises that I should be prepared for?

5. How will you work with my designer?

6. When can you give me an itemized estimate that covers:

  • work to be done
  • materials needed
  • labor required
  • time it will take

What do you need from me to be able to do this?

7. In your experience, how often does this type of project go over budget and time?

STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL CONTRACTOR
FOR A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
8. What precautions do you put in place to minimize the mess factor in my home?

9. How do you find it best to communicate once the project is underway?

10. What kind of documentation will I receive when the project is done?

11. What do you do with the leftover waste material?

12. What payment schedule do you usually use?

13. What date would you be available to start?

14. References: Remember anyone can manufacture references that may not be genuine.

Can you tell me about other similar projects and how they progressed?

What problems were encountered?

Listen carefully to the details of what the contractor tells you.

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STEP 3

ESSENTIAL POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR CONTRACT
FOR A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
A contract is a legally binding agreement between you and the contractor that promises an action. Your bid document will usually become your contract once it is signed.  It should spell out the full scope of the project. This is the time to nitpick and scrutinize the document and ask questions about anything you are unsure of. It is so much easier to resolve issues if they are agreed in writing upfront. Don’t be afraid to add to the contract. Don’t rely on the contractor to include everything but do ask him if he thinks anything else should be included to ensure that the job can be successfully completed.
Key information that should be included:
Contractor’s name, address and contact information
Name of the contact person who will oversee the project
License number, proof of licensing and insurance and what the insurance covers. All subcontractors

must have their own workers’ compensation and liability insurance or be covered by the main contractor

Full scope of work
Total cost of project with individual pricing for agreed items
Itemized list of materials, with specific brands noted if requested. If the contractor

is willing to give you the itemized price as well, so much the better

A clause that allows you to purchase and provide material yourself if the contractor needs

to substitute an item, or you do not like what the contractor selects or the price he is offering

A clause that states that the client and the designer will sign and approve certain agreed

materials (e.g. kitchen counter top, hardwood flooring, paint color) before installation

by the contractor

Warranties for the project and the products used
Timetable for starting and completion
Responsibility for obtaining building permits
Payment schedule that should be based on work progress rather than time and date
Penalties for missed deadlines
Process for making changes once the project begins
A “broom clause” to cover demolition and cleanup provisions

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ORGANIZATIONS FOR PASADENA CONTRACTORS