Home Improvements

CONTRACTING FOR SERVICES ON LBI AND THE SURROUNDING AREA: HOME IMPROVEMENTS AND

THE KEYS TO SELECTING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR FOR YOUR PROJECT

From selecting real estate, building a new home or remodeling an existing home to designing outdoor living areas, installing swimming pools and updating essential services, the search for the right service provider/contractor can be challenging and time-consuming.

Brian Swank, BLA – Reynolds Design Team -“Design Concept Rendering”

Whether they be architects and designers to landscapers, carpenters, plumbers and pool contractors—sifting through websites and scouring newspaper advertisements prove that finding a contractor is not difficult. Finding the right service provider for your project, on the other hand, takes time and research along with proper planning and reasonable expectations. Mark Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Landscaping Inc and Mark Reynolds Project Management Inc, serving LBI and the surrounding vicinity for over 37 years, suggests the following guidelines to facilitate your search for the right professional:

Recommendations from satisfied neighbors and friends are the first avenue to pursue when looking for a contractor. Besides providing the homeowner with reassurance in the reliability of the service provider, recommendations also provide the contractor with a frame of reference to the property and a level of credibility in the new client and their expectations.

Regardless of the services required, Reynolds adds, it is important to ensure that the credentials of the service provider are accurate and up to date including licenses, insurance and certifications. The contractor should be forthcoming with these documents and be willing to provide you with examples of their work. They should also be willing to back up their services with a reasonable warrantee on the material and services to be provided.

Before your first meeting with a prospective contractor, it is important to have a basic understanding of your project parameters and a clear grasp of your budget constraints. This, along with your vision for the final project, should be discussed with the service provider during your first meeting. They will increase the likelihood of your satisfaction and prevent any unreasonable expectations.

Scheduling, timelines and projected completion dates should also be discussed early in the planning stage. If your project is largescale and a firm deadline is required for the project completion, Mark Reynolds advises that your planning and search for a service provider be initiated months in advance to prevent disappointment and frustration. This is especially important if the project is scheduled to take place during the high seasons—spring and summer. In these instances, Reynolds recommends committing with a contractor as early as 6 to 8 months in advance to best assure that your project will be completed on time.

When obtaining a quote from the contractor for the services to be performed or the project to be installed, make sure that the estimate is comprehensive and addresses all the materials to be used and the services to be applied. This is especially important when comparing multiple bids for your project. Remember the adage “you get what you pay for” Mark Reynolds stresses, and make certain that the materials and services that you are comparing are indeed of equal quality and quantity.

Especially with respect to outdoor living projects, it is important that site preparation is accounted for in the budget and be certain that any pre-existing conditions on the site have been addressed prior to the start of the project. This is especially true with landscaping, hardscaping and swimming pool installations where underlying drainage and grading issues may be present.

If left uncorrected, Reynolds warns, even if the services have been rendered correctly, the functionality of the new features can be compromised and adversely affect not only your property but the property of your adjoining neighbors.

Always confirm that your contractor has prepared and submitted all required permits with your township and verify that they have been approved prior to the start of the installation. While it may slow down the progress of your project, without these required documents you run the risk of violating mandatory zoning codes and compromise your ability to sell the property in the future without costly remediation fees.

In some cases, a project manager may best meet your needs--especially with large scale projects requiring multiple contractors. The project manager can provide current and accurate status updates and assure that the parameters and timeline for your project are being managed in the most efficient way possible. This is especially true when the project does not take place at the primary residence of the homeowner.

A project manager will typically have an existing relationship with the sub-contractors involved in your project. They can better manage the day to day questions and monitor progress surrounding the project better than the absentee homeowner. The management fee of the project manager is typically a percentage of the total project budget and in many cases is well worth the investment.

Finally, and most importantly, Reynolds concludes, an open and steady line of communication between the home owner and the contractor is vital to maintaining trust and ensuring the long-term satisfaction of the homeowner. It is the essential component to the collaborative partnership the defines the client-contractor relationship.

Mark Reynolds and Mark Reynolds Project Management Inc. is licensed in the State of New Jersey as new home builder, home remodeler, real estate agent, landscape contractor, landscape irrigation contractor and certified landscape lighting professional.

The companies of Mark Reynolds have been servicing LBI and the surrounding communities since 1981. For more information or to schedule an appointment contact Mark Reynolds at 609-597-6099 or mark@reynoldslbi.com. Visit the Reynolds family of companies at www.reynoldslandscaping.com or visit us on Facebook.

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