#1 Will You Hire a General Contractor?
You have a couple of different options when it comes to your basement remodeling project. You can hire a general contractor who will then handle all the details like hiring the sub-contractors for you. Instead, you may choose to be the general contractor yourself. It all depends on how much time and experience you have.
If you choose to be the general contractor yourself, you’ll need a good idea of how the project should flow, which contractors to hire first and in what order they should flow in and out of the project. You’ll also need to put together a time schedule to follow. Part of a general contractor’s job is to keep the project running smoothly and on-time. This requires constant communication with sub-contractors like electricians, plumbers, flooring contractors, sheet rock contractors, etc. to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be a the right time. You’ll also need a solid list of reliable sub-contractors like this one here. Google’s Recommendations. Once you get estimates, call as far ahead as you can to set exact dates with these service providers. You want to be sure you’re on their schedule in order to keep your project on-time. Always let your contractors know as far ahead of time as possible if your project is running ahead or behind schedule. They will appreciate the notice and your basement remodeling project will run much more smoothly with happy workers.
#2 Agree on Plans
To begin with, draw up and agree on plans with your family members. Make sure every detail is planned out correctly. You may even want to hire a professional to do this for you. That way you can hand the plans directly the contractor to get an exact price as to what it will cost to complete the basement finishing. It is also important to note that if you change your mind about the location of the sink or a light switch, your plumber or electrician will charge you extra. Moving things around sounds easy enough, but many times it requires your service provider to have to cut new holes, fish new wire or add drains. It’s best to have the location of the tv, furniture and lights all figured out ahead of time, so it won’t cost you extra. Changing the plan can also extend your project far beyond your scheduled completion date and make the project feel like it will never end. Save yourself the hassle and be prepared beforehand.
#3 Gather Proposals & Agree on Terms
Next, you’ll need to gather proposals for each trade; electrician, plumber, flooring, windows, sheetrock finisher, etc. The most reputable companies may charge a small service fee to provide a quote. This is because they’re very busy and need to make the best use of their time. If a sub-contractor doesn’t charge a service fee, I would wonder why. It could be because they’re desperate for work and not in high demand. This sub-contractor may be the cheapest, but I would probably move on to a more well-known service provider. With a bigger name usually comes better customer service and a company that stands behind the installation.
Once you’ve chosen each trade, agree on terms and price and sign before the project begins. Most electricians, plumbers, flooring installers, sheetrock finishers will require a deposit up-front and at set times during the project’s duration. This is good for you because it will allow you to budget appropriately. It also helps the contractor to pay for the supplies and labor that goes into a longer project.
#4 Set a Date
You can’t get the ball rolling without a date. Plan a time when you can get a couple of days off of work to make sure the basement remodeling gets off to a good start. Even if you can’t get off work, it’s a good idea to visually check in to make sure things are going as planned. It’s much easier to catch a switch in the wrong place before the project is completely finished. If you can’t be there to speak directly with the contractor, have a conversation the night before. Tell the contractor that you’ll leave notes on the kitchen counter. Written instructions help reinforce verbal. If you’ve drawn up blueprints, there really shouldn’t be a lot of questions. Sometimes prints change and sticky notes in specific locations will help with communication.
#5 Make a Daily Check List
Make yourself a checklist each day of who to call and why you need to contact them. This will keep you on track so you’re not playing phone tag at 10:00 pm. Keep notes on dates and responses, messages left, etc. A calendar works well for this. You can even set reminders on your phone.
#6 Take a Deep Breath!
When you find yourself tense and irritable, think of how nice it will be to entertain guests in your newly renovated basement! The basement remodeling project will feel like the end will never come. You may even wonder why you started it the first place. As long as you don’t lose sight of the pleasure to come, you’ll make it through!