1. How long have you worked in this industry?
You want to hire someone who has plenty of experience dealing with issues that could arise in the world of construction. As well, knowing all the little parts of a project comes only from years of experience. They know all there is on permitting, necessary inspections, and code compliance. Moreover, they will know to take necessary precautions to protect your home- proper clean up, covering up your furniture, wearing shoe protection, etc. An experienced contractor will help you not only feel comfortable, but make sure every aspect of your home and project will be the best it can.
2. Are you licensed and insured?
It’s very important to hire a licensed and insured contractor. One reason is that you can double check that the company is reputable. Also, hiring a contractor that is insured means that you will not assume responsibility if any accidents occur. Overall, checking on the company you might hire can give you peace of mind during this stressful time.
3. When will we be able to start my project and how long should it take?
A contractor’s schedule fluctuates throughout the year; sometimes they won’t be able to get to your project for a few months. It’s important to know if your project will get done when you want/need it to be done, especially if you’re trying to make repairs before moving, having a kid, etc. Also, having a realistic idea of how long your project will take can help you make sure that your project is moving along properly. Of course in construction, projects don’t always go as planned. This means you should still be prepared for hiccups in the timeline for your project. Either way, a good contractor will keep you updated if anything changes.
4. Do you use subcontractors?
Many contractors do use subcontractors for their projects. Check on who it will be and if they have subcontractors that they consistently work with. If they are willing to keep working with certain subcontractors, then you know they will do trustworthy work.
5. How will you supervise my project?
Depending on how busy the contractor is that you hire, will depend on how hands on they can be. You have some that can be on site everyday or some that will be there during certain times. If your contractor can’t be on site everyday, make sure that they get consistent updates from their subcontractors or employees so that you too can easily stay in the loop.
6. How will we communicate throughout my project?
This also goes back to if your contractor will be on site everyday of your project. If they are on site everyday, then they can give you updates directly. Otherwise you should be able to email and call each other. Typically before your project begins you should be able to email and/or call your contractor regarding any questions or concerns. Having an open line of communication is key to making sure everything can go as smoothly as possible.
7. Will you obtain all necessary permits?
You will want to get a contractor that can get all this done for you, permits change from county to county and borough to borough, a good contractor will know what is necessary for your project. Also, they will know how to work with any restrictions in your area.
8. Do you offer any warranties?
Most contractors offer some kind of warranty for their workmanship. Depending on the scope of work, you may find longer warranties for specialized items. Aim to get a contractor that offers a 1-2 year workmanship warranty.
9. What will the payment schedule be?
Every contractor is going to have a slightly different payment schedule. A reputable contractor is not going to ask you to pay everything up front. Many contractors will split payments up depending on the completion of milestones in your project i.e. a deposit, completion of demolition, completion of drywall work, completion of all work, etc. Don’t be afraid to discuss payment terms after hiring a contractor.