Have you decided to begin a home remodeling project? If so, congratulations! You’re on your way to creating a great new space for you and your family. While choosing to remodel is an exciting process, it also comes with a lot of work. You’re going to want help, and that’s where a quality contractor comes in. But do you know what questions to ask when hiring a contractor?
When making the decision to hire a contractor to complete the work on your home, it is critical to ask them certain key questions before any work is started. The answers to these questions will help you determine which contractor is the most professional and reliable, and which one you can afford to hire.
The 6 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Contractor
1. How long have you been in business?
This question is the key to understanding potential contractors’ reputations. Look for a contractor who has been established for a while and can point you in the direction of their other past/current clients. Inquire as to whether they have references for you to contact, or pictures of other projects they have completed similar to the work you are looking to have done on your home. Another good question to ask when hiring a contractor is, “Has your business ever operated under a different name?” Pay attention to the actual answer to this question, but also how they answer it. Contractors who are unwilling to answer this, or who have operated under several names, may have shady business practices. Always check with the Better Business Bureau or Department of Public Safety to see if there have been any complaints about your potential contractor.
2. May I have a copy of your insurance policy?
The fact is, accidents and injuries can occur anytime on a construction site. A professional contractor will easily be able to provide you with a copy of their insurance policy. Asking your potential contractor this question will confirm that they do in fact have insurance, but viewing their policy will also allow you to understand what kind of policy it is, what it covers, and how much money the contractor is covered for. You will want to ensure that their insurance policy not only covers your property, but that they have sufficient worker’s compensation insurance to cover their crew, as well. If they do not, and someone should get hurt, you, the homeowner, could be held liable for their injuries.
3. What’s the best way to contact you?
This is another of the important questions to ask when hiring a contractor, but it is often overlooked. Ask the potential contractor to provide you with a business number, cell phone number, and a physical address of their company. If they can provide you with all of this information, then you are likely in good hands. Contractors who are unwilling to provide this information, give you a P.O. Box, as opposed to a physical address, or operate out of a mobile trailer, are not the kind of contractor you will want to work with. These are signs that you may be unable to contact them in the future, should something go wrong with the project/construction at your home.
4. What is your license number?
In most states, contractors must register with the state in order to conduct business. Having a contractor’s license allows you, as homeowner, to verify whether the contractor has had any formal complaints or discrepancies filed against them. This will also allow you to verify if they ever owned another home improvement company under a different name. Reliable contractors will be able to provide you with their license number, and prove to you that they are professionals who play by the rules.
5. Have you done other projects like mine?
This is another of the great questions to ask when hiring a contractor because it will ensure that you are working with someone who has experience with your type of remodeling and construction needs. Just like you wouldn’t seek out a chiropractor for a common cold, you want to select a contractor who understands each detail of your particular project. If you are looking to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, seek out a contractor who has completed several similar projects in the last year. Contractors that specialize in certain types of remodeling projects, as opposed to those that dabble in a little bit of everything, will be able to address your needs best.
6. How much is this going to cost?
One of the most critical questions to ask when hiring a contractor is how much the project is going to cost. Get bids, in writing, from all the contractors you are considering so that you can have a clear picture of what the project will cost. Make sure the estimates are as detailed as possible, so that you can understand the scope of the whole project. If estimates are too low, it may mean the contractor has not factored in the cost of all the labor or materials. If one estimate is significantly higher than the rest, the others may have missed key components of the overall cost. Also, ask the contractor how payments work. Do they require a certain amount upfront? Do they offer payment plans? Steer clear of any contractor that asks for the entire amount upfront. This is clear sign they may take off with your money, before the work is completed.
When it comes time to hire a contractor for your home remodeling project, it is important to find someone you can trust. By knowing the right questions to ask when hiring a contractor, you’ll be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.