Hiring a Contractor? Ask These Questions First
You’ve made the decision to start your dream project, but it’s going to take time and resources. How do you go about finding a trustworthy contractor to get the job done with great communication and attention to detail? Here is a list of questions that you should ask before hiring your contractor.
Do you have a Contracting License?
Each municipality has its own requirement on whether contractors must obtain a license or similar credential. Asking the potential contractor if they have the appropriate certifications for their field of expertise will give you the confidence that you are hiring the right person.
Can I see your Certificate of Insurance?
This is an important question to ask because you will be able to see what KIND of insurance they have rather than just confirming IF they have insurance. You will want to see if they have both Workers’ Compensation and Liability Insurance to make sure they are properly insured for the job you are hiring them for.
Do you carry insurance if something is broken in the construction process?
Accidents can happen, but you want to make sure that you are not financially responsible if an accident takes place as a result of the remodel or construction process.
Can you provide a list of references I can contact?
This is your opportunity to hear first-hand how the contractor communicated with the project owner and if they kept the job on schedule. Knowing how the potential contractor performed on past jobs is a good indicator of how they will function on your job.
What is a projected timeline for this project?
You want to hear a specific amount of time in this answer or an explanation of how they will reach an estimated end date for your project. Sometimes there are projects that cannot be properly estimated due to work that might arise when tearing out existing structures or damage. Your contractor may then suggest that you enter into a Time and Materials contract. This contract will state their labor rate and material markup of anything that might come up unexpectedly.
Will you be on site to oversee progress on the job?
Your contractor is the project manager of the job, so they should be on site each day to ensure that work is being done according to plan. They will also be the crew resource for asking questions, so being in close proximity to the job will help to keep things moving on schedule.
Will you provide me with daily updates?
Setting an expectation for communication will help both parties to deliver good customer service. You can prepare to voice any questions or concerns, and the contractor should update you on the highlights of the day and discuss future plans. Agreeing on the best way to keep in touch (phone, text, email and best time) will also help to keep expectations met.
How do we resolve any disagreements?
This is a really important question to ask, because it’s not fun for either party, and you will want to know in advance the potential contractor’s style for conflict resolution. Giving the contractor an opportunity to fix a problem will help you and your project reach the best outcome. Ask if they offer a guarantee on their work and how long that guarantee is good for.
These questions will get you on the right path for hiring the best contractor for your project. We also invite you to watch our YouTube videos, “What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Contractor?” part one and part two. We are here to help you with your dream project and look forward to working with you.