6 Questions to Ask a Contractor
Hiring a general contractor may be overwhelming, especially for the first time. You’re probably wondering, ‘Do I really need one,’ ‘Who can I trust,’ or ‘What should I be looking out for?’ If you run into one or more of the following scenarios, you should work with a contractor.
- If the job is going to take more than a week, such as a kitchen remodel
- If the job requires several professionals, such as an electrician, a plumber, a flooring pro, a painter, or an appliance installer
- If the job calls for a permit- or several
Now that you know you’ll be needing a professional, here are our top questions to ask a contractor—before you sign a contract.
1. How Can I Get In Touch With You?
While this may seem incredibly obvious, you must receive more than one point of contact. One cell phone number won’t cut it if you’re trying to reach your contractor for any updates, questions, or repairs. Be sure you secure their business phone number, physical address, and any additional cell phone numbers of who you will be working with. Keep this information for as long as you’re utilizing your space, just in case you run into problems in the future.
2. How Many Projects Like Mine Have You Finished In The Past Year?
Working with an experienced and reputable contractor is the best way to ensure your project is in capable hands. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have finished projects similar to your specific home. This will not only give you an idea of their skillset but also if you are working with the right business. If possible, work with a contractor who is an expert in what you need completed, not just someone who knows a little about a lot of things.
3. Where Do You Get Your Supplies From?
Asking who their supplier is will touch on the contractor’s reliability and level of quality, as well as help you understand your bid later. These connections may include tile shops, kitchen and bath showrooms, lumber yards, and more. Your contractor should explain where they are getting their materials from and include you in the selection process to guarantee you are satisfied with the look, feel, and price.
4. Can You Itemize Your Bid?
You want to avoid contractors that give you one, bottom-line price for your project. If this is the case, you don’t know what they’re charging for, such as materials and labor. By itemizing your bid, you can understand the cost of everything and know just how much of a price reduction there should be if you choose a different material or reject a piece of the project later on. Some items on the bid may be demolition, framing and finish carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, HVAC, tiling or other floor installations, lighting fixtures, and drywall and painting. Always make sure your bid is a fixed price, not an estimate that may be subject to change at a later date. If the contractor denies a fixed cost due to the chance problems may arise, read your contract very carefully to know what they can charge for and how much.
5. Can I Have A Copy Of Your Insurance Policy?
Asking for a copy of their insurance policy allows you to verify that they carry insurance, what kind, and how much coverage. Coverage should include details regarding your property and worker’s compensation. Without proper insurance, you may be responsible for any accidents or injuries while the crew is on the job.
6. Can I Meet The Job Foreman?
Most contractors are more like project managers rather than day laborers. The job foreman will typically be the person who is working on your project every day, on-site. Meeting the foreman beforehand will provide you a sense of confidence and comfortability knowing who will be in your house and doing the work.
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