14 Killer Questions to Ask Your Contractor
When looking for a contractor, beware of home improvement scams. Once he has good options, he sets up consultation once or twice. Answer these questions to ensure you’re both on the same page and that your project is exactly what you envisioned.
1. Do you have a Business License and Insurance?
This is probably the most important of all the questions you ask a contractor. Contractors without proper licenses and insurance can be at significant financial risk. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but it’s always safer to ask your contractor for additional licenses rather than a license that meets only the minimum requirements.
2. What is your Background and Experience?
It’s a good ice breaker and tells you if it’s a good fit for the type of project. Please find out how long they’ve been in business and how many projects they’ve completed. Time and experience in the business don’t always match up, so it’s essential to get a complete project as well.
3. Can you Provide a List of Previous Recommendations by Clients?
Feel free to ask for recommendations, reviews, or testimonials from contractors. Good contractors let their work do the talking, so listen to your clients.
As with all reviews, he has two sides to the story. Ask the contractor to get the big picture if you have a bad review. If you’re looking for previous recommendations, start with these three:
- Check contractor website
- Find out on Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor
- scroll through social media accounts
4. Do you Handle Permits?
Not all jobs require a permit, but any job that radically changes the structure of your home does. Of course, any professional contractor knows what kind of permits they need and how to get them, but good contractors are happy to get them.
Getting the proper permits is expensive and time-consuming. Having an experienced professional who can handle the process of scheduling inspections will make your job go more smoothly. Common permissions include:
- construction plan
- plumbing and electricity
- Special projects such as fireplaces and decks
5. What is your Schedule?
Asking contractors about their schedules shows how organized and conscientious they are about their work. Contractors who don’t have a solid schedule in advance can easily fall into poorly managed workflows that drag on for weeks and cost a lot of time and money. If you have telecommuters, you want to know what time your employees arrive for work each day. Also, the milestone plan provided indicates that it will be completed within the agreed timeline.
6. What is the Total Estimated Timeline for the Completion?
Every project is subject to unforeseen issues, but the contractor should be able to give a reasonable estimate of the project’s schedule. You can request a schedule that provides not just a completion date but some milestones to ensure you’re on the right track.
In most cases, projects tend to be long-term, so you should inquire about projects the contractor has set for the future. You don’t want the contractor to shy away from completing the project because another job has to be set.
7. Do you have Subcontractors for this Project?
Large contractors typically have multiple projects going on at the same time. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to know precisely who is doing your work, and subcontractors may change mid-project.
We recommend using the same subcontractor for the entire job to ensure project consistency and continuity. However, good contractors almost always hire good subcontractors. When you get to know subcontractors, you’ll find that they usually fall into the following main categories: Electrical work, plumbing, HVAC
- Painting, Masonry, Plastering
- Floor and Concrete
- The Panel, Roof, Sheet Metal
8. What is the Contract Handover Method?
At contract handover, the contractor disassembles its deliverables and prepares an offer as part of the contractual arrangement. To know how to respond to contractor offers, you need to know the main contract delivery methods.
Guaranteed Maximum Price
Under this method of delivery, both the contractor and you agree that the project will not exceed a specified quantity or guaranteed maximum price. The contractor will provide a breakdown of all costs associated with the project. You can opt-out.
If the project falls under budget, you and the contractor will split the excess. This is a win-win method that most people prefer.
Flat Rate Shipping
This is the easiest method. With flat rate delivery, the contractor offers a fixed price for the project and does not break down the costs to the homeowner.
Everything in front of you may look ideal, but it can be a disadvantage. Therefore, any delays or unexpected costs discovered en route shall be borne by the customer.
9. How do I Pay?
Once you agree to the contracted shipping method, you can ask about the payment schedule. Most contractors require payment before the project begins, but a solid schedule should be discussed and agreed upon. Payments are typically made after each project milestone, with final payments made when everything is complete. A payment plan ensures project completion and helps your financial organization.
10. How can I Contact you?
Effective communication is the cornerstone and basis of any successful project.
Look for contractors with well-established communication protocols. Those familiar with the latest technology can instantly share drawings with local members. Good communication can save you time, money, and countless headaches.
11. Clean Up?
The definition of cleanliness is not the same for everyone, especially those who work all day in the dirt and sawdust. It’s up to you whether he cleans up the website at the end of each day or only at the end of the project. Remember that time spent cleaning is time paid and can further delay your project schedule.
12. Is there a Warranty on Service and Materials?
Of all the home repair questions and answers, this is the one you want to keep for the long haul. Before agreeing to install, identify any appliances or electrical components. Should contact the contractor for warranty details. Warranties for related materials and services must be documented and retained until they expire.
13. How do you Resolve Interference?
This may not be the most convenient question to ask a general contractor, but contractual disagreements are common in the industry these days. A good contractor should have a solid and unique structure to resolve disputes before they get out of hand.
Standard construction dispute resolution techniques include negotiation and compromise, mediation, and expert opinion. If the contractor doesn’t have the answer to this question, finding someone who knows before the question becomes even more difficult is a good idea.
14 Will you Take Steps to Protect my Property?
Every home improvement project begins with demolition. So it’s good to ask what measures the builder has to ensure that the rest of the house is intact, such as moving items and planning furniture to avoid damage.
You may also need to ask that the door be locked when you leave the facility if you are not home that day. Of course, no one wants to ask questions like this in a job interview, but it’s good to know that critical areas are covered.
These questions will give you the surety that you have selected the best contractor, but it also depends on how you ask these questions, and you should be confident while asking.