Before you hire a contractor, it's important to ask the right questions about the project. You’ll want to make sure that everyone is on the same page so there aren’t any surprises. Not included in this list is signing a contract. It is always in everyone's best interest to have an agreement in writing. It protects everyone and helps avoid “I said they said” situations from occurring. That being said, let's jump into it!
1: Can you show me proof of insurance?
Before you hire an independent contractor, you need to know if they’re insured. Accidents happen and you do not want any charges or claims falling back on you. Make sure the insurance applies specifically for the job that you are hiring them for. If you want to know what licensing and insurance is required in your state, Home Advisor offers a tool to help you out. Check it out here --> Licensing requirements by state
2: Can you provide a list of references?
Providing you with past customer references lets you know that they have confidence in their work. Ask the references about the overall experience and if there were any issues. Do your research and look for online reviews in addition to asking the contractor directly.
3: How long will this project take?
Having a clear view of the timeline is essential for a successful project. Make sure you’re on the same page with your contractor when it comes to any timeline requirements.
4: Do you offer any warranties?
Warranties give the homeowner peace of mind and give the contractor a chance to correct any mistakes they made. Contractors that explicitly provide warranties and guarantees on their work, tend to be high-quality enough for you to not even need them!
5: How will you clean up and protect my home during the project?
A good contractor protects the homeowner's belongings and leaves the project cleaner than when they arrived. That being said, make sure you and the contractor are on the same page in that cleanup is going to be taken care of by them. If the project will take more than a day, have a conversation about your expectations of cleanliness in-between workdays.
6: How much will this project cost? Will there be any additions to the price?
By this point, they may have already given you a quote. If not, confirm with the contractor what their final price is. Next, you need to know how any additional charges will be handled. You should confirm in conversation and in writing that anything over the original price will not be charged without your approval. Sometimes projects can encounter unforeseeable circumstances, but there should always be a crystal clear plan between you and your contractor if they arise.
7: What is the best way to reach you?
Should a question or an issue come up, having a direct line to the contractor or project manager is important. You don’t want to be waiting for a response if an emergency or change in the project occurs.
8: Are their inspections or permits needed for this job?
Many large remodeling projects that alter the structure of your home require permits or inspections. Be sure to ask if your contractor will pull these permits and if they know the requirements related to your project.
9: How do you handle payments and when are they due?
Knowing the payment schedule and sticking to it is important to avoid an issues. Ask your contractor How and When they want to be paid. We recommend paying via check or online transfer. Make sure to keep records of your payments and have things in writing to avoid any future discrepancies.
10: If a disagreement comes up, how should we resolve it?
Ideally, everything goes smoothly. However, many issues may occur and how you and the contractor deal with them is what determines the success of the project. Have a conversation beforehand about how disputes will be dealt with. The best contractors will do everything they can to ensure customer satisfaction.
Always remember that the most successful projects are a result of both parties being communicative, transparent, and considerate.