The Most Important Home Remodeling Decision You Need to Make

Hiring the Right Home Remodeling Contractor is Paramount to Anything Else in a Home Remodeling or Home Addition Project

By Mark J. Donovan

If you’re planning a major home remodeling or home addition project realize right up front that hiring the right home remodeling contractor is the most important decision you’ll need to make. Hire the wrong contractor and you’ll quickly learn an expensive and painful lesson. I’ve personally witnessed hiring the wrong contractor on a new home construction project and suffice it to say it was extremely frustrating to watch, even as just an observer. The person who hired the contractor to frame, roof and side his home was a close family member.

The contractor’s performance and actions were so bad I think it is worth explaining in detail his egregious actions so that you can learn how painful it can truly get when you hire the wrong home remodeling contractor.

I will say up front, however, that the contractor was eventually fired but not after costing my family member a small fortune in money and time.

This particular contractor had an extremely arrogant attitude such that what he thought and said were gospel, regardless of his employer and regardless of the architectural plans for the home he was constructing for my family member. For example, he chose to use 2×6 walls in the interior walls of the home even though the plans called for 2×4 walls. Consequently it cost a lot more money for lumber to build the home than was originally costed out by the architect. In addition, closets, a pantry, and the hallways in the finished home turned out to be much smaller and narrower than planned.

The contractor’s attitude was so horrendous no one could work on the job site with him. Subcontractors, such as electricians and plumbers, literally walked off the job and told my family member they’re not working on the home while that “asshole” is on the property. As a result, the home construction was delayed by many weeks.

Substance abuse was another major issue with this framing contractor and a couple of his direct employees. It wasn’t uncommon to see and smell drugs being smoked on the site during the construction of the home. This caused great safety and liability concerns for my family member as it created risks for the subcontractors that did put up working with the contractor.

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My family member also noticed that more lumber and building materials were ordered by the contractor than what the architectural building plans called for. When the contractor was pressed on why the excess material, he simply brushed the question off and basically said mind your own business, I know what I’m doing.

Well it turned out that the excess building materials did get used up, however not on my family member’s new home construction project. The building materials were slowly but surely disappearing from the jobsite in the middle of the night and being transported up to a camp the contractor owned and was building in northern New Hampshire. When my family member pressed about the loss of the building material the contractor swore that they were used up on the new home construction project. My family member had irrefutable evidence that showed that indeed the contractor was stealing it from the job site. When the contractor was shown the evidence he blew up and became threatening to my family member. building a gable dormer addition

Fortunately there were a couple of other subcontractors on the jobsite that day, so that when my father fired the contractor on the spot he and his two direct employees simply got into their truck and drove off while giving an indecent jester.

My father paid a big price for that experience. What was also so shocking about the incident was that my father had personally built about half a dozen of his own homes over the decades and had hired many contractors in the past.

The other final piece to this story was that I had recommended the contractor based on the fact that I had used him on framing, roofing, and siding my home. Unfortunately I had not been on the jobsite much when the contractor did the work for me, and what he had done for work was done properly and on time. My father used my single reference/experience, along with the fact that he was on a tight time table, to hire the contractor.

So the moral of this story, make sure you do a thorough background check on any home remodeling contractor you hire. Check several references carefully. Also make sure to check recent and older references. Also check with the state and better business bureau to see if the contractor is in good standing.

Finally, check with the local building material suppliers to get the skinny on how the contractor is to work with and if he pays his bills on time. You’ll learn the most from that discussion.

Hopefully this true story will help you achieve a successful home remodeling or home construction project.

For more help on building a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home building project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home construction building costs.

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