Questions to ask a Home Remodeler / Builder
There are absolutely questions you need to ask your home remodeling contractor. We understand, searching for a new contractor or for a company to handle your latest home improvement project can be tiresome and stressful. Customers can even fail to ask certain questions that can drive a decision if a home remodeling contractor is the right fit. The interview and bidding phase of a home remodeling, renovation, or construction project is the most important step for any homeowner. It is your home, your investment. So taking the time to truly understand the type of contractor you are letting into your home is vital. To gain insight into this concern, here are ten questions to ask a home remodeling contractor before hiring them.
How long has your business been operating? / How long have you been doing this type of work?
Experience. Out of all of the determining characteristics a contractor has, the experience is probably the most telling. If someone you are about to bring into your home only just started, chances are they may not know technical specifics or nuances that make a job go smoothly. Worse yet, a lack of experience can open up for more mistakes – which you might end up having to pay for. Also, take note, a person’s experience isn’t the same thing as a company’s history of operation. In short, ask about your point of contact, the superintendent, the project manager. Whoever is in charge of your day to day work, make sure they are able to do the job. Remember, it’s your home, be upfront and ask – if you don’t feel comfortable about them, move on or ask for a different project manager.
Can I see previous work or a portfolio?
When researching contractors, go ahead and look for a portfolio of past work that was done by them. This lets you see what level of detail and quality the contractor or company has, which can help you decide on hiring. This may also lead to seeing how well a contractor handles their public appearance on the web. Having an up-to-date business listing on Google and other search engines can tell you a lot about how your experience working with a contractor can be. This also translates to credibility and security, making sure there is an actual person/business you can track if things go awry. Just to be clear, you can avoid the referral who just has a residential address and AOL email listed.
Do you have a contracting license?
Always ask about a copy or proof of a contracting license. Never let anyone do work on your home without a contracting license that is verified and up-to-date. There are many dangers involved with someone performing unlicensed work – all of which can fall back on you, the homeowner. If you want to know more, check out this handy article we published earlier about unlicensed contracting work. Out of all the questions to ask your home remodeling contractor, we think this is the most essential.
Can I see your Certificate of Insurance?
Just like the contracting license, always have a copy of the contractor’s certificate of insurance in hand before any work starts. Typically, copies of a contracting license and certificate of insurance can be emailed or given to you after an initial bid is given. Never let anyone begin or perform work without a certificate of insurance, this cert will ensure that you are not held liable for any accidents.
Will you Provide References?
Referrals are a contractor’s bread and butter. Past clients are the proof for you as a prospective customer looking to hire a contractor based on their skills and experience. Go ahead and ask a contractor for past references. You may not be able to get ahold of anyone, but honestly, it’s important to see how open the contractor is to release that information. As long as it’s not encroaching on anyone’s privacy, contractors should be excited to give you references about the work they have done in the past.
What is the process for this project?
You as a homeowner, have a responsibility to understanding what you are signing your home up for. Ask the contractor what you should expect as a process for the project. This establishes a clear understanding of who, what, when, where, and why. Your project manager or contractor should be able to clearly tell you what will take place in your home from start to finish. Even more, a contractor or company should be able to present you with something in writing that clearly outlines all the work that will be done, nothing less and nothing more. This way you won’t be caught off guard by missing trades or change orders later on.
What is the payment schedule?
For simple projects, many payment schedules are 50% now and 50% after. But don’t just assume how the payments are gonna work. As a rule of thumb, do not pay for the project in its entirety up front. Contractors usually try to balance payments from a project to ensure they have funds to order materials and pay for labor without asking for too much.
Who will be my primary contact
Communication is key, as well in every other relationship in life. Make sure to understand who will be your go-to contact for project concerns and more. Generally speaking, don’t assume you can talk to any single person who is working on your home to associated with the company overseeing the work. That can lead to miscommunication and confusion. The home remodeling company you hired will have an assigned point of contact who will delegate any requests or changes to the workers and subcontractors so you don’t have to.
How would you like to get in touch with me?
Communication is a two-way street. Make sure you understand your contractor’s preferred method of getting ahold of you. Whether it be text messages, email, or phone calls – every point of contact has a preference where they can effectively communicate with you. Make sure to ask, so you know how and when to respond.
What else should I know about you or this project?
This may seem like a broad question but you can be surprised to learn some aspects of the project you may not have considered. Like if you are installing a new furnace, things might need to be moved around to meet your municipality’s code requirements – which could lead to an additional expense of installing a new exhaust duct – which leads to a price increase over other bids you received. You can find out a lot about hidden requirements the city or your home will impose on you. If a contractor is transparent and good at what they do, they can explain to you everything that is on the bid. This should be on the list for questions to ask your home remodeling contractor.
Connect With Us
Planning your next renovation, or maybe you are looking to do a complete remodel for your home? Whatever the task, it can’t hurt to ask. Reach out to our team through this form.
We can schedule a free consultation and discuss everything you need to get your project moving in the right direction. Did we mention, it’s absolutely free?