By: Jim Butcher | Category: Home Interior Retail | Issue: January 2015
Welcome to the showroom of Tile by Tony in Catoosa. Tony Sementi, who started the business in 1982, puts it simply, “If you can imagine it, we can make your dream kitchen or bathroom come true.”
With nearly 35 years of experience in remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, Tony Sementi, who owns and operates Tile by Tony in Catoosa, emphasizes, “We do things differently than most contractors.” And as a result, he has developed a “Seven-Point Guide” on How to Pick a Contractor for this type of project.
1. Scope of work. Knowing exactly what you want done will help generate a detailed, accurate and less expensive bid. Be consistent and give identical information to all bidders. He suggests, share your budget with the contractor prior to the bid and consider doing the job in stages, if the estimate is too high.
2. Ownership oversight. Are you prepared to stay home to oversee the job, chase down materials, clean up job sites, and accept less than high-quality work? Then the low bidder will probably work for you.
Do you want to feel completely safe leaving your family and belongings at home while you’re at work? Then be prepared to hire a professional. “Remember, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for,” said Sementi.
“I don’t want my customers and any member of their families to be scared. I want you to have peace of mind when my men are working in your homes,” he said. Tenure of his 15 employees range from the newest of seven years to one he hired in 1991.
3. Know the difference between an amateur and a professional. You immediately know a professional. They are on time to meetings or will communicate with you about any delay in meeting you, Sementi said. “They will be very knowledgeable on all aspects of a project. A professional will rarely throw out numbers; a professional’s bid will be very detailed, with scope of work and the cost of each item. This protects both parties. If it is not itemized, it’s not included.”
4. Get references. The Better Business Bureau, the Home Builder’s Association, and online sites like Angie’s List are also a good place to start, he continued. “Listen to your gut, it usually knows. Ask for recent references. Even a lousy contractor has had a good job or two,” he adds. To be on the safe side, check them out!
And don’t overlook the obvious. Has the contractor done this kind of work before? For example, hiring a contractor who does excellent backsplash work does not mean that he can remodel a shower.
5. Communication is a biggie. “Without good communication between you and your contractor, the job will fail to meet your expectations,” Sementi said. “Communication is to construction like location is to real estate.”
6. Magnetic sign on a truck or brick and mortar? Though not a guarantee of quality, brick and mortar will show that he has a commitment to the community.
7. Verify your contractor’s workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. Most homeowners fail to check these basic things. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover you if someone gets hurt on your job. You could lose your home.
Sementi said, most people prefer to hire one company for the entire project; this helps both the homeowner and the contractor in completing the project on time and reducing expense.
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Jim Butcher is a retired, award-winning newspaperman who continues to write as a freelance writer and photographer. He owned the Tulsa Front Page weekly and was executive editor to Neighbor Newspapers' 13 metro newspapers. Currently, he writes for Value News and has become a paid assignment screenwriter, along with a University of Oklahoma professor who wrote Brad Pitt's first feature film. His award-winning screenplay is on the historical Osage Indian Murders of the 1920s.