5 Things to Ask Your Home Improvement Contractor
Choosing a home remodeling contractor is a big decision. Renovating your house can be a significant financial investment, so knowing what to expect before the project starts will help you get ready for the process. After all, you are letting the contractor and their crew in your home, and you’ll also likely be paying them a lot of money. This is why it’s best to do a little bit of research so that you can make sure you’re choosing the right person for the job.
Here are five questions to ask your contractor before renovating your home.
1. Can you show me some of your past projects and references?
Any good remodeling contractor will have examples of their past work. If you’re having home exterior work done, ask for the addresses so that you can see the contractor’s quality of work with your own eyes. If your project is indoors – such as a bathroom or a kitchen, for example – you may only be able to see the pictures.
You should also ask if the contractor can provide references. For some people, the mere fact that a contractor is willing to provide them is enough. However, some may also need to call and check. If you call, ask the client what they liked or didn’t like, and how happy they were with the finished product.
2. What’s the procedure if a change has to be made?
Even the best thought out remodeling projects don’t have to go according to plan. The construction team could find an unforeseen structural problem that has to be addressed, products may be out of stock, or a delivery might go wrong. If any of those issues occur, changes have to be made to the construction, which could also affect the budget and schedule.
Ideally, you’ll want to check these changes and document them in a change order. A change order is an extension to the original contract. This could change to the price and scope of work detailed as well.
3. The documentation
Do you have a contracting license?
States, cities, and even counties have different requirements regarding whether contractors must get a license or an alternative credential, so you’ll want to make sure that your contractor has all of the certifications necessary in their field of expertise — for example, you wouldn’t want to get a roofer who has a license in carpentry. Having only a business license is not enough, since it allows individuals to do business but doesn’t mean that they are a credentialed or licensed contractor.
Can I see your certificate of insurance?
It’s not enough to ask a contractor if he’s insured. Rather, you should ask how he is insured. Contractors should have both liability insurance and workers’ compensation specifically for the kind of job they perform. Taking a look at insurance certificates will give you the peace of mind that they are not insured for something different than the job you’re hiring them for.
Will you set up the inspections and get the permits needed for this job?
Not every job requires inspections or permits. Most remodeling projects that change the structure of the home in some way do. Your contractor must not only know what permits you need and how to get them.
4. How will you communicate with me?
With every possible means of electronic communication at hand, you may have ideas about how you would like to get information about your project. Your contractor probably also has specific ways they like to communicate – cloud-based schedules, daily emails, or just phone calls. Either way, Make sure you understand how you will receive information and be contacted.
If the contractor’s way doesn’t give you what you think you’ll need, agree on a and format and method so that you know what’s going on on a daily basis. Weekly meetings at a specific time are a good way to make sure your contractor will get your questions answered in person.
5. What is the payment schedule, and what’s your estimated timeframe for the project?
You’ll want to get a general picture of how the project will look. The contractor doesn’t have to give you a daily timeline, but they should be able to give you a broad idea of how long they think the project will take.
The contractor also doesn’t have to provide a budget down to the cent. They should, however, be able to give you a solid idea of what your costs will look like.
The more detail you include in these documents, the better. Asking for an estimate will help you get a more detailed picture of where your money will go. This way, if you have questions about what is being spent, you can ask about specifics.
A detailed estimate
Be sure to get costs connected to your contract in writing. Make sure that all estimates are detailed. This way you can compare offers against each other.
Be careful of any quote that is much lower than the rest, as it may not include all labor and materials. On the other hand, if you get a much higher estimate than the rest, this can also mean that the other contractors were missing a key factor.
The payment schedule depends on the company, but you should never pay the whole amount up front. Different contractors may offer different payment options, and different payment options may work better for your situation. However, never pay for the work entirely before the job’s completion and inspection. A fair down payment is normal and fine, but customers should establish a payment plan connected to progress. They should also hold back the final payment until the job is done to the consumer’s satisfaction.
Are you thinking about improving your home? Feel free to contact 1-800-HANSONS for a free estimate.