Buying or Selling May 14, 2024

10 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Many homeowners have concerns when hiring home improvement professionals. Some fear overpaying, some worry about hiring unqualified professionals, and others wonder about the character of the individuals they are inviting into their homes. Asking these ten questions can help alleviate all of these concerns.

1. How long have you been in the business or working in the industry?
Ensure that you seek out a reputable track record and successful work experience.

2. Are you licensed, insured and bonded?
At the very least, ensure that your contractor is licensed and has worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Bonding may not be required in all cases, but it acts as homeowner insurance in the event of an unfinished job.

3. Do you guarantee your work in writing?
Draft a written guarantee that clearly outlines what is and isn’t covered, instead of relying solely on a verbal guarantee.

4. Can you provide references?
Ratings and reviews, along with references from previous customers, are valuable resources. Always ask contractors for a list of references before making a hiring decision.

5. Do you pull all the required permits?
Failing to obtain the required permits can result in significant costs. Ensure your contractor obtains the necessary paperwork and permits before beginning the job. If your contractor is unwilling, consider finding a new professional.

6. Who will be managing the project?
If your contractor isn’t overseeing the project, request to meet the project manager to ensure they meet your standards.

7. What is the project timeline and daily work schedule?
Construction scheduling is never perfect. Workers may get sick, orders may get delayed, and weather may cause interruptions. However, an organized contractor will provide you with a work schedule that clearly outlines a start and end date.

8. Will you need water or bathroom facilities?
Most contractors are self-sufficient enough to bring their own water, but unless your job is a major remodel that necessitates bringing in a port-a-john, there’s a good chance your workers will need to use your facilities. Therefore, it’s important to dedicate a bathroom (or bathrooms) to your workers before you start your project.

9. Will you need my garage code or keys to my house? Who will have access?
It’s important to remember that many homeowners feel uneasy about giving someone else the keys to their home. Unless you plan on being at home during the construction, you will need to provide your contractor with access to your house. Being aware of who has access to your home will help give you peace of mind.

10. Will you sign a contract?
All reputable contractors will provide a clear contract that outlines the work to be performed, materials, costs, and project completion timeframes. Detailed contracts also address potential issues that may arise during the project, known as time and materials contracts. Additionally, the contract should specify conditions under which both parties are permitted to terminate the agreement.