Aulik Blog: Selecting a Professional

Aulik Blog 3: Choosing a Professional

There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when choosing a design or remodeling professional.  When you sit down at your computer and google “Minneapolis Remodeler” for example you’re going to be inundated with builder who’s google analytics matched up with your search, and you’ll certainly be able to judge and vet them based on some pretty simple items.  Items such as:

- Reputation   -   Location
- Referral        -   Qualifications/Certifications
- Portfolio        -   Awards
- Marketability / Size of Business

Those are pretty boilerplate bullet points that you can use to vet potential Designers or Remodelers… but are they really the best way to determine whether or not you hire someone?  The short answer: Absolutely Not!  Awards are a great indicator of past performance, but not for your project.  Reputation and websites that tell you whether or not someone is reputable (such as Angie’s list or the BBB) are just as subjective as any other form of word-of-mouth advertising, and often times are pay-to-play.  At the end of the day: the best judge of a professional’s ability is you.

The Long Answer…

Learn what is truly important about design/build professionals, and learn how to determine if their priorities align with yours.  In other words: Learn how to make a “gut decision”, and trust your gut. 

Obviously, there are things that google won’t tell you about a company’s ability to serve your needs.  One could argue that there is a more important set of criteria by which a designer or contractor should be judged.

- Communication     -   Ethics
- Responsiveness   -   Honesty
- Compatibility           -   Flexibility

This list is incredibly subjective, with lots of room for wiggle.  But it’s a place to start and it will serve as a way to remind ourselves what’s really important when hiring professionals for a remodel.

Personality Goes a Long Way…

It’s time to start to evaluate what isn’t in print.  You need to get a handle on whether or not you and your interviewee are a good fit.  This is a difficult task.  The items on the above list are not necessarily items that show up on website faq; you will need to determine these things face to face.

First, you should make first contact with these professionals by phone.  If you need your design/build professional for any type of emergency, or even just an urgent question or concern, you may as well learn now whether or not they’re communicative and responsive.  That doesn’t mean that if they miss your call they should be out of the running; rather how they handle you when you reach out to them.  Second, meet them face to face.  It’s during these face-to-face meetings that you can really get a grasp of a firm’s approach to your business.  A typical meeting with a Designer/Contractor will take no more than an hour, and you can learn more in that hour than you ever could from the internet. 

Were they flexible about your schedule, or the location of the meeting?  Did they do any research before meeting with you?  What kind of questions did they ask you?  Did they offer you any valuable advice?  Did they explain their process to you?  Were they transparent about their billing and financing options? 

Build a Relationship, Then Your Home…

You’re about to enter into a long-term relationship with a hired professional.  Relationships take work.  Your level of personal comfort with your designer/contractor is one of, if not, THE most important indicator of whether or not the arrangement works the way you want it to.  The better your contractor knows you, the better they can your address concerns and serves your needs.  The better you know your contractor, the better you will know what they’re expectations of you are; which, is just as important.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email the webmaster, we’re always happy to address any concerns.