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5 Essential Steps Before Reaching Out to a Residential Contractor

December 19th, 2023 | 4 min read

By Placher Sieben

When making plans to renovate your home, you may be tempted to contact a professional as you get your project off the ground. However, by answering a few questions before picking up the phone, you will make it easier for most teams to accurately plan and quote your project.

With over 20 years of experience, RWS Enterprises specializes in high-end kitchen, bathroom, and whole-home remodeling. During that time, we have had many initial discussions with clients and have narrowed down the topics that are crucial in the planning process.

5 Essential Steps Before Reaching Out to a Residential Contractor

Step 1: Define your Project Scope

Before reaching out to a residential contractor, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the scope of your home remodeling project. Determine which areas or rooms in your home you plan to renovate. Decide where the project begins and ends. Does it include multiple areas of the home or just one? Thoroughly walk through each area or areas and list every piece that will be included in the renovation. Having a well-defined project scope will enable you to communicate your intentions effectively.


Step 2: Establish your Budget

Knowing your financial boundaries before reaching out to a home remodeler will help you and your contractor align expectations. Some projects are focused on ROI (Return on Investment) and incur more financial restrictions, while other projects will not have as many budgetary limitations. Establishing your budget will help you ensure your project stays within your financial means. To assist you in this process, please read our article on potential room addition costs. It is beneficial knowing your budget as this will help you find an appropriate contractor. Not considering your budget could leave you with a slew of issues spanning from potential cost overruns to a quality mismatch with your licensed professional. Check out some of our cost overrun articles in our learning center. Once you decide on your budget or budget range, you’re ready for the next steps.

Step 3: Prioritize Goals

Is it essential to establish and prioritize your home renovation goals before reaching out to a residential contractor. Whether you are improving functionality, increasing energy efficiency, or enhancing aesthetics, understanding and identifying your project goals and priorities is important. By establishing these items ahead of time, your potential contractor will be more equipped to offer you tailored solutions. Here are some ideas that may help you when prioritizing your home renovation:

  • Are you adding space to your home? (e.g. home addition)
  • Do you want to create a new room or space to enjoy? (e.g. finished basement, screened-in porch, etc.)
  • Are you repurposing an existing room? (e.g. den to game room)
  • Do you want to update an existing space? (e.g. kitchen or bathroom remodel)

Once you prioritize your renovation wants and needs, you’ll feel more confident about scheduling a meeting with potential contractors.

Step 4: Timelines

Prior to reaching out to potential residential contractors, try to establish your ideal start date. Do you need to start immediately, or are you flexible? Every renovation project is unique, so timelines vary. Credible contractors may be booked out for months, so it is important to have realistic expectations on the start date. If time is a priority, make sure you communicate that. If you’re able to wait, you may have more flexibility when selecting a contractor.

You also need to consider how long remodels can take. Each remodel is unique in its scope, and timelines can vary dependent upon the details. Here are some timeline articles for the most common home renovations RWS Enterprises completes.


Step 5: Miscellaneous Information

Depending on the scope of your renovation, you may need permits or approvals from local authorities. Luckily, licensed contractors have experience working with different cities and municipalities, so they will obtain any proper permits needed for your job. Additionally, many homeowners also work with designers, architects, and/or engineers. While this is not necessary, depending on the scope of your project, it may behoove you to work with these professionals during the planning stages of your project. For more robust renovations, architectural and engineering renderings may be required before the city issues a construction permit. It is important to note that these items will add to the cost of your overall home renovation budget.

Once you have a handle on these questions, you’re ready for the next step of locating a contractor/team to work with. While you may have dozens of options in your area, finding the right contractor is crucial. By researching and selecting the right crew for you, your project should fall into place.

Research Contractors: Most contractors are chosen by homeowners through recommendations. Remember that just because someone worked on your neighbor’s house does not mean they are right for you. The internet provides another great resource to research companies and read reviews. Always verify potential contractors are licensed, insured, and in good business standing. On the Johnson County Contractor Licensing website you will be able to search and access lists of licensed contractors and companies who are certified in the Johnson County, KS area.

Watch Out for Scams: Although there are many reputable contractors to choose from, unfortunately there are people in our industry who look to exploit their customers. There is always a fear of being deceived when entering into a business agreement with a stranger. Please refer to our article about red flags when hiring a contractor. To protect yourself from scams, be cautious of door-to-door salespeople, those who request payment upfront or in cash, or those who pressure you to decide immediately. Kansas law states that anyone who signs a contract can cancel within the first three days.

Keep in mind that defining your home renovation scope, as well as selecting your contractor can be a lengthy process. By defining your scope and budget, outlining your goals, knowing your timelines and considering additional documents and trades, you hopefully feel better prepared when researching and preparing for your meeting with potential contractors.

If you are thinking about remodeling, please visit our learning center as it contains various informative articles about the residential construction industry.

If you’re ready to move forward with your home renovation project, we invite you to complete our RWS contact form here. Expect to receive an email response within 24 hours from Ray Stillions, owner, or Placher Sieben, senior remodeling contractor. We look forward to hearing from you for your residential remodeling needs!

Placher Sieben

Placher Sieben is a licensed remodeling contractor with RWS Enterprises working with clients, designers, and architects throughout the Kansas City and surrounding areas.