5 Questions to ask When Choosing a Contractor
The ﬁrst big hurdle once you’ve decided to start a home remodeling project is to ﬁnd a contractor. Choosing the right person for your job can be a stressful process, but knowing which questions to ask can make the process go more smoothly. Here are ﬁve important things to ask any home remodeling contractor before you sign on the dotted line:
How long have you been in business, and will I be able to contact some former clients for references?
This is the most important question to ask any potential contractor, and it can easily separate the good guys from the scammers.
Request a copy of his contractor’s license, if your state licenses contractors, as well as proof of liability insurance. Ask if he has ever been the subject of any lawsuits, criminal investigations, or workers’ compensation claims. If necessary, search local court records.
Get the names and contact information of a few former clients for whom the contractor has done work. Talk with them about the quality of work done, the contractor’s willingness to resolve problems, his communication abilities, and whether he stuck to his ﬁnancial and time projections. In most states you can find information online about the contractor through that states Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
Who will be working on my home each day?
The contractor you hire may have other people who are on your job site each day.
Many times a subcontractor is necessary to complete some or all of a project. Talk to your contractor to find out the people who will be on your project. Make sure you will be introduced to everybody that will be working in your home prior to or on the day they start.
Will you give me a detailed contract?
The contract is the agreement that both you and the contractor are working from. If there is not enough detail for you to get complete information make sure verbiage is added to clear up any confusion.
A reputable contractor will take the time to inform you of what you’re getting with your home remodeling project and your contract should reflect those details. A detailed contract helps to make sure that you will be getting the project that you want, done in the way you expect, with the materials you selected.
What does a typical day on my project look like for you?
Get to know a typical day for your potential contractor.
Find out what time they typically arrive and leave a site, how long lunch breaks are, and whether they works weekends. This can help you avoid unpleasant 6 a.m. wake- ups to hammering overhead on a Saturday. Also ﬁnd out how many jobs the contractor manages at a time. Will they focus completely on your project until it is completed, or do they juggle multiple sites at once? Neither answer is necessarily better, but this is a case where the references and reviews you got from the ﬁrst question will be helpful. Check with those references to see if the contractor is able to handle their workload or if they are consistently falling behind.
Be sure to ask about how the contractor will treat your property. Ask what sort of measures they take to protect your property, such as putting tarps over open areas and wearing shoe coverings indoors. Find out how the contractor recommends you secure the property in rooms not being renovated, especially valuable or breakable things. You can spend all your time getting the items out of a room being renovated and simply forget the things in the other rooms in your home. Ask your contractor if he will take a walk through your home prior to starting your project so he can make recommendations that may better protect your property. Also, inquire about the crew’s cleanup habits. Do they pack up their tools and materials every day, or wait until the project is over? Is trash hauled oﬀ your property daily? Finding out this information can help you prepare for having the debris of a renovation project strewn about for days to weeks at a time.
What is your timeline for my project?
Get start and end dates from your contractor.
If you have a more involved project, get a timeline that includes ﬁnish dates for various segments of your remodel. Set up weekly check-ins to see how things are progressing. Few things can cause more stress than a never-ending renovation project with no solid deadline. It’s all right if something comes up and plans have to shift, but this should be communicated to you promptly.
Finding a quality contractor can be diﬃcult, but it isn’t impossible. By asking these ﬁve questions and taking time to research every contractor you interview, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and headaches in the end. Give us a call, or fill out the contact form. Our experienced team at Adroit Design Remodeling would love to answer these questions for you!