Thinking about remodeling your Chicago home but not sure where to begin? Finding a reputable and trustworthy construction company can be overwhelming. We’ve all heard horror stories of that one contractor that was hired to do some work on a friend’s bathroom. They cut corners, did an unsatisfactory job that ended up costing thousands more to repair, or disappeared halfway through, never to be seen again!

Getting a room or home remodeled is a big commitment, not to mention an expensive one, so you want to feel 100% confident in your end decision of who you select to get the job done. With over 20 years of experience remodeling homes in the Chicago area, we understand your concerns and want to help alleviate some of the stress that may come with remodeling your Chicago home.

Here are 10 questions you should ask before hiring a Chicago home remodeling company to give yourself the best foot forward:

1. How long have you been in business?

While it may seem like a pretty straightforward question, knowing how long a construction company has been in business can provide peace of mind in more ways than one. Longevity typically equals reliability, dependability, and a certain degree of competence. If a company is prone to not keeping their word or weren’t good at what they do, they would have been out of business a long time ago. 

2. What do you specialize in (if anything)?

Not all construction companies are created equal – some specialize in certain remodel jobs better than others. One company may excel in bathroom and kitchen remodels while another may be more skilled with outdoor projects such as decking and patios. It’s always worth asking and going with a company that specializes in the area of work you need to be done. 

3. Do you have any referrals or testimonials from previous clients? Can I see some examples of your work?

Client testimonials are the lifeblood of any business and are crucial when choosing someone to remodel your home. Knowing how to remodel a home is one thing, but doing it well is another. Testimonials will allow you to see if a company has provided exceptional quality and service to its previous clients. Before even asking this question, you can do some digging yourself. Check out online reviews from trustworthy sources like Houzz, Angi, and Google Reviews.  

Ask to see examples of their work, too! A company that delivers stellar end results should be proud to show them off. Do they have photo galleries available to preview on their website, Facebook page, or Instagram account? Have their clients shared before and after photos on any review sites? 

4. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

Contractors here in Chicago should be licensed, bonded, and insured. You should only want to do business with those that have the proper licensing. This means they’re protected by the statutes that exist to safeguard them against any issues that may arise – this is for the protection of you, the contractors, and the company.

Do they have worker’s compensation? A licensed company has worker’s compensation and liability insurance for his or her employees and is allowed to get and sign building permits. Many construction and Chicago home remodeling companies avoid the city of Chicago and any high-rise projects to save money, but if that company can’t afford worker’s comp, then are they a company you really want to be working with? 

5. Do you use subcontractors for your Chicago home remodeling projects?

A subcontractor is a type of contractor that works on a contractual basis. They form agreements with the contractor, not with the client. They often specialize in one specific area of construction with contractors that work on larger-scale jobs that include their area of specialty. It’s often a good idea to ask what percentage of your project will be handled by subcontractors (if any). If subcontractors are being used, you will want to make sure your construction company is familiar with them and their work and have the utmost confidence in them getting the job done to the highest of standards. 

6. Can I suggest changes after the remodel has started?

This is another great question to ask. Bear in mind that while changes may sometimes occur due to the nature of a project, it is important to have the input of all parties determined from the beginning. This way, the remodeling company you choose to go with has an accurate idea of the scope of work and there is no confusion amongst both parties.

7. What does the timeline look like for my Chicago home remodeling project?

How long will this project take to complete?

A very common question, and understandably so. When you’re remodeling your home, you typically will have little or no access to the room(s) being worked on. Given there are no unexpected surprises, your contractor should be able to provide you with a fairly accurate timeline of your project. 

Something to keep in mind here is you’ll want to know not only how long the project will take to complete, but also how far out the contractor is booked as this will depend on how soon they can start working on your remodel.

8. Can you tell me how I should expect things to go?

It’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with the construction companies process so you know what to expect along the way. This process may differ from company to company, but here at IRPINO Construction, ours looks a little something like this:

Site visit > Proposal > Being Hired > Scheduling > Pre-construction Site Visit > Commencement of Work > Schedule Weekly/Monthly Visits > Project Completion > Final Walkthrough > Completion of Punch List* Items

*A punch list is a document created in the final stages of a construction project to provide a list of items that must be addressed before construction is considered complete and payment is issued.

Chicago Home Remodeling Timeline IRPINO Construction

9. What is expected of me during my Chicago home remodeling project?

This is a great question to ask, especially if this is your first time undergoing a home remodel! You’ll want to know what exactly is expected of you on your end. This usually involves things like purchasing fixtures, selecting and sourcing tile, cabinets, etc. Keep in mind that select items may take some time to source (i.e.: items that are out of stock or on special order). Be sure to communicate this with your contractor so they can make timeline adjustments where needed.  

Read More: How to Prepare for a Home Remodel

10. What does a normal payment schedule look like?

Knowing upfront when a payment will be expected of you helps you to be better prepared with your finances. While this may differ from company to company, here at IRPINO Construction, we have the following payment structure in place:

  1. A deposit is made to schedule the work in the contractor’s calendar;
  2. A second payment is made at the commencement of the work;
  3. A third payment is made at 50% completion of the project;
  4. A fourth payment is made at the completion of the project with a small retention to cover punch list items;
  5. Once punch list items are complete, the remaining balance is paid.

General Tips & Advice When Considering a Chicago Home Remodeling Company:

  1. Never pay in full until a project is 100% completed and all punch list items are addressed.
  2. Thoroughly research the contractor you are considering using. Don’t just rely on a friend’s word of mouth, do your own research and see what others have to say.
  3. You get what you pay for. It is important to remember that cheaper isn’t always better. The lowest bid you receive is often not the best choice to go with.

Looking to remodel your Chicago home? IRPINO Construction is your one-stop-shop for all your home remodeling needs in Chicago. Our experienced team is ready to transform your space into the home of your dreams! Let’s get talking – contact us now or by calling (773) 525-7345.