Your Top 10 Renovation FAQs, Answered
Behind every renovation project is a hard-working production manager who manages everything behind the scenes and in front of the team. Steve Parnell, who has worked with JM Construction for the last two years, has been in the business long enough to know what questions to ask clients—and what questions they should be asking him.
“The top three questions we always get asked—how much will it cost, how long will it take, and when can you start—are pretty project-specific,” said Wendy Ballou, JM Construction’s VP of Operations. “There are other questions that clients should be asking as well, whether they hire us or someone else.”
Here are ten of the most important renovation FAQs you should ask your renovation contractor, and what to look for in a response.
How long have you been in business?
This is an easy question with a straightforward answer. While newer firms shouldn’t be discounted because of their “age,” it just makes the answers to the following questions that much more important. Successful renovation companies, particularly in the Boston area, will have a few years under their belts. It takes a while to establish strong, professional reputations and relationships, and this added experience will (or should) be readily apparent.
JM Construction celebrated 30 years in business in 2017, and we’re proud of every year.
Are the people working on my job your employees?
All projects are managed and staffed by fully-insured, full-time JM Construction employees. We do also use subcontractors for some key pieces of a project, such as plumbing and electrical wiring. Rest assured, these subcontractors are our trusted vendors who carry the same seal of quality as our company. The question shouldn’t be if a construction firm uses subcontractors—it’s a nature of our business—but how we vet, qualify, and guarantee their people and their work.
Are you licensed with the state?
The answer to this question should always be yes. All carpenters have a state construction license (our home improvement contractor registration is #106536). Instead of asking this yes or no question, ask for the license number or to see the actual license; one or both should be readily available.
Are you fully insured? Can I see a certificate listing me as additional insured?
Again, the answer here should always be “absolutely.” We insure ourselves for our—and your—protection. Being listed as an additional insured is not always necessary, but it can be done upon your request. You’ll receive the certificate directly from the insurance company.
What is the estimate process like?
It’s fun! Seriously. It all starts with an initial phone call (start yours here). You’ll introduce yourself, we’ll say hello, and we’ll answer your initial questions before establishing a time and date for a site visit. When you are ready, we’ll take a look at your home and discuss what you are hoping to do, your budget, and any specific plans you may have. (No specific plans? No problem—we can handle that for you.) We’ll ask you several questions and expect you to do the same.
Once we have a plan, we can start crunching numbers. We’ll enlist the help of all of the professionals on the project so they can give us an accurate scope of work and estimate for time and materials, and then we’ll deliver a written proposal based on the findings. The current turnaround time for JM Construction estimates is about three weeks for a kitchen or bath remodel; other contractors may be longer or shorter depending upon their pipeline and the number of teams.
Who will supervise my project and can I meet them before committing?
YES. My name is Steve, and I will not only oversee your project, but all the folks working on it. I look forward to meeting you in person.
(In my opinion, that is how every project manager should approach this question.)
Do you have any professional affiliations?
Not every contractor has professional affiliations within the industry, but it does show a commitment to the community and the craft. JM Construction, for instance, is a proud member of the Wellesley Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), and is a Lead-Safe Certified Firm. We are also featured on Houzz.
What is included in my contract?
Your contract should include plans, if there are any, a description of all materials to be used, allowances if no description (i.e., the tub), anything that is excluded, price, payment plan, warranty info, and an estimated date of completion.
What can I expect during the project as far as disruptions go?
If you’re talking about a bathroom or kitchen renovation, expect many disruptions. While we’ll attempt to minimize the inconveniences, you’ll inevitably have increased foot traffic, noise, interruptions, and dust. It will be important to have a plan in place for pets, small children, and when and if you go out of town during the renovation.
We at JM Construction hold all of our employees to a high standard of conduct. This means we speak politely, keep noise levels down, refrain from smoking on the job-site, and attempt to accommodate your needs as best we can to increase your enjoyment of the process while also being sensitive to the deadlines and quality of work. We’ll do our best to communicate any larger scale disruptions (demo, flooring installs, etc.), so you can make the best choices for your needs and your family.
What happens if I have more questions?
Got more questions than these top 10 renovation FAQs? That’s easy—just keep asking them! We’re happy to help.
Have another question for Steve? Contact us here, and he’ll be in touch!