How do you know which contractor is right for your project? Will he or she complete your project on time and on budget? Will your family be safe? Will the contractor keep your home clean? Learning to interview your contractor will help you decide which one is right for you.
Here are 10 questions to ask potential contractors.
1. Are you licensed, and do you and your subcontractors carry liability and workman’s compensation insurance? A contractor should possess the required contractor’s license and business license. A contractor who fails to hold insurance puts your family and home at risk. In the event of an accident or damage, you don't want your homeowner's policy to be on the hook for the costs.
2. How long have you been in business? Companies that have been in business a minimum of five years have established themselves in their community. They have a number of clients you can reach out to for information regarding performance, quality and service.
3. Do you possess any certifications or belong to any professional associations? A contractor who is invested in his or her business understands the value of networking, getting education and acquiring certifications.
4. How many projects similar to mine in scope have you performed over the last two years? Experience is key to a successful renovation. Don’t let the contractor cut his or her teeth on your project.
5. How do you charge? Get a fixed price for your project. A contractor who charges on a time-and-material basis may overlook or underestimate certain areas of the project, which can lead to incurring more cost than anticipated.
6. May I speak to previous clients? A contractor with happy clients is glad to have you speak or meet with them.
7. May I visit a couple of your projects? Physically visiting one or two projects is a great way for you to see the level of quality the contractor delivers.
8. What type of payment schedule do you use? Make sure the contractor can produce the project on billings based on percentage of work completed. Secure a copy of a draw schedule for a project of your size and type. Never issue a large deposit or payment up front. A contractor who can’t fund your renovation while work progresses can lead to an abandoned project or liens.
9. Who will look over subcontractors, schedule materials and manage your stress while the project is ongoing? Make sure you'll have a manager on site, not just a technician.
10. How do you handle call backs? Know what's covered and not covered under your warranty. Don’t consider hiring a contractor who can’t provide a copy of the company’s warranty program and process.