Working Well With Contractors: 10 Questions To Ask
Making sure you will work well with your contractors is something very important in the home remodeling industry. You can ensure that your contractors are the best in the business and will be sure to exceed your expectations by asking them some of the following questions.
#1 “How long have you been in this business?”
Contracting businesses that have been in operation for many years have certainly worked through a lot of the growing pains that many companies deal with in their fledgling years.
If your instincts are telling you to go with a contractor who fits this bill, consider starting him off with a smaller project. If after that you’re satisfied with his technical, service and business skills, you can both move on to something larger.
Do your research ahead of time on any contractor you’re thinking of working with. If you find anything that makes you worry, ask about it. Ultimately, contractors prefer that you voice your concerns so they have an opportunity to address them rather than take them out of the running.
#2 “Do you have a contracting license?”
Cities, states and even counties have different requirements on whether contractors must obtain a license or an alternative credential. As a homeowner, you’ll want to make sure that yours has gone through all of the necessary channels to obtain any required certifications specific to their field of expertise — for example, you wouldn’t want to hire a roofer whose license is in carpentry. Having a business license alone is not enough, as it allows individuals to operate a business but doesn’t mean that they are a licensed or credentialed contractor.
#3 “Can I see your certificate of insurance?”
Asking a contractor if he’s insured isn’t as telling as seeing how he is insured. Contractors should have both workers’ compensation and liability insurance specifically for the type of job they perform. Taking a look at certificates of insurance will give you the peace of mind that he’s not insured in an entirely different capacity than the job you’re hiring him for.
#4 “Will you obtain the permits and set up the inspections required for this job?”
Not every job requires permits or inspections, but most remodeling projects that in some way change the structure of the home do. Your contractor should not only know what kind of permits you need and how to get them, but also be willing to pull them for you.
#5 “What is our timeline for completion?”
It’s important for homeowners to have a clear picture of when contractors will start and complete a project, and be aware of any circumstances that might affect that schedule. Here are a few additional questions that will further clarify your projected timeframe:
-Are there any other projects you’re working on now that could affect our schedule?
-Do you have any current bids that haven’t been finalized that could impact this job?
-How will necessary changes to our timeline be addressed?
#6 “What is the payment schedule?”
The Better Business Bureau advises never paying for the full price of contracting work upfront, and a reputable contractor shouldn’t ask you to. But it’s important to discuss payment terms before construction begins, and be aware of exactly how much is due and when, perhaps by specific dates or based on completed stages of the project.
#7 “Will I have a dedicated team working on my job?”
Contracting companies often work on multiple projects at a time, so it’s important to verify that you can count on consistency in who comes to work on your home each day. Be sure to ask these questions:
-Will the same team be working on my home each day?
-Who is the project manager, and what specifically will he oversee each day?
-Do you work with subcontractors? If so, what have you done to properly qualify them, and are they covered by your liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
-How often will the business owner check in on the progress of the project?
#8 “What way would you like me to get in touch with you?”
Not only do you need to have a designated point of contact, but you also need to know the best way to reach that person, and at what times he’ll be available to respond to you. (Often, this is the business owner or the project manager for your home.) Find out if he prefers to be contacted via phone call, text message or email, get his information, and ask for a general timeframe that you should expect to hear back from him.
#9 “What is your working day like?”
It’s important for both homeowners and contractors to know what to expect on construction days before work begins, even if you don’t plan on being home while the work is being done. The targeted questions you’ll want to ask include:
-What are the approximate start and end times for construction day(s)?
-Do I need to remove any items that are in or near work areas?
-What will the noise level be like?
-Do you need me to be home at any point during the day?
You should also advise your contractor on key information about the project prior to your start date:
-The parking situation in your neighborhood
-Which restrooms, if any, are available for use
-Where available power outlets are located
-Who, if anyone, will be home during construction (including pets)
#10 “What steps will you take to protect my property?”
This may be one of the toughest questions to ask your contractor simply for the fact that it may seem disrespectful. However, it’s an important one that you’ll need to ask in advance of construction.
Your contractor should be willing to take reasonable measures to protect your property, so be sure to ask what specifically he’ll do:
-Will you use tarps to cover large furniture items and surfaces in work areas?
-Will crew members wear shoe coverings when they enter my home?
-Will you recommend items that I should move to other areas of my home to protect them from damage?
-Will you close or lock doors as necessary when entering and leaving my home?
If you have any additional questions, concerns, or want some help with your next home remodeling project- contact us here at Home Remedy. We’d be more than happy to help you with your next major home remodeling project!