This guide will help you find experienced and reliable contractors for your bathroom renovation project. You find tips to guide you as you collect contractor estimates and decide how to pay for your remodel project. 

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, you’re in good company. In 2022, 27% of homeowners chose to take on a bathroom renovation project, making it the most popular room in the house to update.

A bathroom upgrade isn’t only a smart way to make one of the most utilized spaces in your home more functional and luxurious, but it also has a great return on investment. According to the RenoFi Renovation Index, you’ll be able to recoup on average between 56-64% of the project’s cost based on the size and style of your remodel.

That being said, choosing the right bathroom contractor for your project can have a major impact on this return — as well as your entire experience along the way.  This guide is here to help you find bathroom remodeling contractors in your area and know the right questions to ask to ensure your contractors are bathroom remodeling experts.

Tips for Choosing the Best Bathroom Remodeling Contractors

While most searches start with a search for “bathroom remodel contractors near me,” there are several steps that follow when narrowing down the hundreds of search options before requesting an estimate. From checking out online reviews and ratings to viewing their portfolio of previous projects, we’ll cover everything you need to know. 

  1. Assess Experience and Expertise

Experience is everything. The best way to set your project up for failure is hiring a bathroom remodel contractor that isn’t qualified for the specific job at hand. All bathroom contractors must possess a minimum credentials and licenses, but bathrooms in particular can be tricky projects due to the fact that there are a lot of moving parts in a tight footprint, not to mention the multiple plumbing aspects.

Start by asking friends, family, and coworkers, do you have any recommendations for bathroom remodeling contractors near me? Then ask them if they have worked with them directly for a similar project or know someone who has. You don’t just want someone they know, you want someone they’d vouch for — and the examples to prove it. You can also search online for more reviews and ratings submitted by others to validate their reputation.

Do your research to get more informed about their overall experience and skills for a bathroom remodel project specifically. Some contractors will specialize in specific projects. For example one bathroom contractor may do bathroom additions, while another focuses on small remodels. And some will have little experience in bathrooms in general or outsource most of the work to subcontractors. It’s important to know the qualifications of the contractor you expect to do the job.

Lastly, make sure you check for any complaints or legal issues that they may have had in the past. This information should be readily online, but even online reviews will probably reveal a lot in terms of any major red flags to be aware of. And if it feels like it could be a fluke, ask your contractor about it. Hearing each side of the story will give you a better understanding of who to trust and if it’s worth moving forward.

  1. Evaluate Past Work and Portfolio

    Once again, experience is everything! While a bathroom remodel contractor’s portfolio will undoubtedly show their best work, the depth of it will tell you a lot. If there are only a few projects to view, it could be a red flag — ask to see more. Look specifically for bathroom remodels that have various components or materials that are similar to yours. If you’re moving plumbing, ask for examples of projects that required moving pipes and lines. If you’re installing a new tub or shower, ask to see projects that did the same.

    And pay attention to the details. Professional photos are made to look good, so try to look past the pretty aesthetic to the workmanship and intricate touches — like grouting, trim, tiles, and woodwork.

    Last but not least, does the contractor’s overall style match yours? Not every contractor will have the same design style, so when deciding who to hire for your bathroom remodel, make sure you consider if the look and feel of their projects match what you hope to achieve. You want to be aligned with your contractor on materials and finishes, so they can support your choices and make helpful recommendations along the way. Otherwise, you’ll likely have friction throughout your project. 

  2. Conduct Interviews and Ask Questions

    Once you’ve narrowed down your list to 3-4 bathroom remodeling contractors, it’s important to lay out everything on the table with each before you sign any paperwork. That means scheduling face-to-face interviews to communicate your preferences and concerns and learn more about their approach to the project to make sure you’re on the same page. This will also allow you to discuss the project timeline and milestones, so that you can better plan your project both logistically and financially.

    Here are a few of the important questions you should have on your list: 

  • Can I have a list of references from bathroom remodeling projects you’ve completed in the last few years? 
  • Do you often take on bathroom remodeling projects of my size and scope? 
  • How many projects do you run at the same time?
  • Who will be working on the project? What phases or tasks will you be handling versus subcontractors?
  •  Are you bonded, licensed, and insured? 
  • What permits, if any, are required for my project? Will you be obtaining them for me?
  • What is your work and communication style? Will you be my primary contact?
  • What’s your expected payment schedule? 
  • Does our contract cover everything?
  1. Verify Insurance and Licensing

    This is a big one. Even though all bathroom contractors should be licensed, bonded, and insured according to your state and local standards, this is not something you simply want to assume. If your home gets damaged during construction or workers are hurt on the job, this is not something you want to get stuck liable for. It will also protect you in case the contractor fails to pay his workers, secure your permits, or finish the work. Do your due diligence and ask for license and policy numbers to verify that they are current. Confirm that your contractor follows all local building codes and regulations. And finally, make sure no legal actions happened in the past or are pending. 

  2. Obtain Written Estimates

We recommend you get written estimates from at least three contractors for your bathroom remodel, but the more you can actually get, the better you can compare and negotiate. Make sure each of these estimates are detailed and itemized so you know exactly what you’re paying for and where you can find cost-saving alternatives or even search for discounts. Compare the pricing of materials and labor costs, and come prepared with a general understanding of local and national averages for a basement remodel of your size. This way you can be more informed when talking to your contractor and make sure you’re getting the best value for the tasks at hand.

And remember, sometimes the cheapest estimate isn’t always the one you choose. Also consider tips #1-5 when making that decision. 

  1. Evaluate Costs & Make Your Selection

Your bathroom contractor’s estimate is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it help you understand your investment and budget accordingly, but it will also play a big role in your lender’s determination of your loan amount. The more detail your estimate has, the better your lender will be able to provide you a loan that covers your entire wishlist for your bathroom remodel.

Review the scope of work and every item in detail. Consider your budget — what upgrades you want to prioritize, where there may be cost-saving alternatives or discounts available, how much you’ll need to set aside for emergencies, etc.

Once you do that, it’s time to research loan options. RenoFi can help you with this process by helping you understand the loans available to you and the benefits and pitfalls of each. Our suite of renovation loans can also help you get the most borrowing power possible for your bathroom remodel by basing your loan amount off of your after renovation value. Our Renovation Advisors can even connect you with local lenders to make your search a lot easier.

  1. Finalize Your Contract

Just because your contractor provides you numbers, doesn’t mean they’re set in stone. Leverage those other contractor quotes and the local and national averages you gathered to do some negotiating. It’s worth it to be open with your contractor about any concerns and make sure you’re on the same page from the get-go. This also means discussing any modifications or adjustments that need to be made to your contract before you can officially sign.

Aside from costs, walk through all of your project timelines and milestones. Make sure you know who will be working on what phases of the project, when they should be completed, how your payment schedule will work, and the best way to communicate with your contractor throughout construction. Make sure all terms and conditions are clearly defined, agreed upon, and in writing to avoid discrepancies or disputes down the road. 

What RenoFi Can Do to Help

RenoFi can support you throughout your entire process from helping you determine who to hire for your bathroom remodel to finding the right lender for your project to applying for your loan and more. So when you’ve chosen your bathroom contractor, our Renovation Advisors can help you vet this person to ensure they’re ready and able to take on your project. 

For more help with choosing the right contractor, getting everything you need from your contractor to apply for a loan, and getting a loan that gets you the most money for your project at the lowest rate, contact RenoFi today. 

And check out the RenoFi Loan Requirement Checklist to learn more about what you’ll need from your contractor to apply for a RenoFi Loan. It’s time to create a bathroom that works for you and your family — and let us help you finance it the smartest way possible.

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