1. Decide what it is that you need to do and write it down.
-carpet removed, disposed
-sub-floor installed, refastened
-new wood floor supplied and installed
-old floor sanded and finished
-old floor sanded, stained and finished
-just a quick fix please
2. Look through the magazines and decorator books to figure out what style and type of hardwood flooring would suit your needs. Then think about your lifestyle, the time you spend cleaning and if you have young children or large pets.
3. Before you start looking for flooring contractors, ask your friends, family and neighbors about professionals that worked for them in the past, asked if they would use those people again and if they could recommend them to you. Many times a reputable and reliable business is in such demand, that they do not take on new projects unless they have a recommendation from a previous client. If you approach a business with a recommendation from such Client, you may qualify for a special price or a discount. This is our way to encourage our Clients to recommend us to others, if they are happy with our services.
4. Call local hardwood flooring businesses and ask for installation prices.
Keep in mind that:
-wood prices remain the same, or very similar through the area, during a specific time period
-most companies and all hardwood stores, as well as the big warehouses like Rona or Home Depot, hire sub-contractors for actual installation and finishing jobs. It means, that you may compare offers or quotes from three different stores, but contractors coming to your home to install your floor are working for all three. In fact, this contractor is the one person, who can get you best deal on the cost of your project...
-many hardwood flooring store owners, never installed or refinished hardwood floors. They really on an army of flooring subcontractors and their practical knowledge to run their business.
-small, family owned flooring business, offer the same products, same warranties, and usually much better prices on installation. Do not forget to call them too, you will probably end up with them working on your floor anyway, even if you hire a bigger company to do the job. So contact them directly, you will be nicely surprised with the quotes they provide.
5. Allocate some time for prospective professional contractors to come in, and provide a free, written
estimate. You should arrange to have about 3 quotes. They all should be free and in writing. The prices
should be guaranteed for at least 30 days from the date of an estimate, and any payment terms should be on
the document. Please remember that:
-if you expect to meet the actual professional that will be working on your floor, do not be offended that he can not come over to do the estimate at 9 in the morning... He is usually on the job, working. Evening hours may be busy for you, but you both should be able to come to a mutual time agreement.
6. Questions to ask potential contractors:
-time frame of the project
-wood delivery procedure
-wood acclamation period
-clean up procedures
-specific products used and how long do they last
-professional's experience in years
-references from recent jobs
-payment options and terms
-deposits required if any
7. Your final choice should be someone well established in the community and someone with good references that you can check. Those two elements will secure the trust factor. The price offered should be reasonable, but not necessary the lowest of all provided estimates.
If, for example, you choose a lower price quote that offers a certain type of varnish, over the more expensive type, be sure to ask about the characteristics of both varnishes. The more expensive may last 4 times as long as the less expensive one. It means, that you will need to go through the hassle of moving your furniture, and leaving the house for a day or so a lot sooner, then if you chose more expensive finish in the first place. Just something to consider...
Be sure that you know who is coming in, to actually do the work. Remember, some store owners, have no practical experience, and yet they will be the ones coming in to your home to provide an estimate. You may also expect them to show up to do the job; this may not be the case. Ask first, so you know what to expect.
8. Execute a contract with your chosen contractor, specifying the work to be done, price and payment schedule, start date and
estimated completion date.
Keep in mind that:
-when project involves installation of your own wood or refinishing of an existing floor, the contractor may ask you for a small booking deposit. This is to secure a date for your project. That deposit should not exceed 20% of the total cost of the project. This deposit is usually not refundable if you cancel the job or want to reschedule at the last minute.
-when wood order is required, you may be asked to provide an amount to cover the cost of wood entirely, prior to wood order placement. This is because many wood manufacturers do not accept returns of opened boxes, and there is always a substantial restocking charge, if returns are allowed. The contractor is placing an order on your behalf and for your job specifically. If you change your mind after order placement there is not much that can be done with the wood purchased for your project.
Contractors need a little protection as well... especial in times when wood prices are substantial. No one wants to get stuck with $10,000.00 worth of wood. If you are not convinced, you may choose to purchase the wood yourself directly from the supplier, however, the price will be higher, then this offered by your contractor.
If such deposit is required, and if you agree to it, you should receive a receipt for the amount of deposit. No other deposits should be required in addition to this wood deposit, and contractor should not ask for any other payments until entire project is finished. You may feel uneasy with this type of arrangement, it is understandable, this is when you should consider a contractor that was specifically recommended to you. You will have an easier time trusting such person.
Please remember, that when you are working with recommended individual, or reputable company, well established in your community, your risk is virtually non existant. Why? Because the risk of not satisfying your needs and expectations of our Clients (you) is not worth taking.
During our 17 years in business we had two unhappy Clients. For different reasons, we were not able to satisfy their expectations ourselves, so their money was refunded, and another professional was recommended to complete the job. In the end the jobs were done the way the clients expected, we lost some money but our reputation was unspoiled, because of the way that we handled an uneasy situation. It is always in the best interest of the business to keep their Clients happy, otherwise we would not be in business... It's as simple as that.
For Free Written Estimate on your next Hardwood Flooring Project, please contact us at:
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