Before you hire your contractor there are several decisions that you need to make. By taking the time to make these decisions beforehand, you'll be better equipped help your contractor complete your project to meet your vision and ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Determine your budget: One of the most important decisions you'll make is how much you're willing to spend on your remodel. Having a clear budget in mind will help your contractor bid a project that's going to work within your budget. Your contractor may ask "what's your budget" as one of his first questions, and that's not so he knows how much he can take you for, lol, it's so he can determine if you are in the right ballpark for the project you are asking him to bid in the first place. If not, he can quickly help you make adjustments that will put you in the right mindset and not waste anybody's time by going through a lengthy bidding process only to have you feel like the budget he presents is either unfair or unrealistic. If your contractor is going to go through the effort to put together a proposal, he will be putting in a number of hours to get that built for you and he will really appreciate you if you have some of these items figured out for him so those hours aren't spent bidding a project you don't want.
Decide on the scope of the project: Before you hire your contractor, it's important to decide on the scope of the project. Are you looking to update a single room, the basement, or the whole house? Do you want any accent walls, or custom beams, or a fireplace? By having a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you'll be able to communicate your needs more effectively your contractor, and he can provide a more accurate budget for your project. All these things will change the cost. Remember the more custom items you want, like a kitchen or additional bathroom, the higher the "cost per square foot" that people often ask contractors to estimate for their project, so it's hard to know what that will be until we know what you want.
Research materials and products: The materials and products you choose will have a big impact on the final outcome of your remodel. Are you planning on the finishes (doors, door knobs, baseboards, doors casing, bathroom accessories, etc.) matching the existing home or are you looking for an updated feel and a brand new look? Research different options and make a list of what you want to use in your remodel. Pictures of each finish element are the best thing ever in this situation! This will help you communicate your preferences to your contractors and ensure that they are familiar with the products you have chosen, and that they include the correct materials in your initial proposal so there are no cost surprises during the project.
Making these decisions ahead of time will help your contractor provide you the right price and timeline for your project, and ensure that the process goes smoothly. Remember to take your time, do your research and don't be afraid to ask questions. With the right contractor, your remodel project can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.