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14 Questions to Ask a Contractor Before Hiring

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When you’re thinking of hiring a contractor for your building or home remodeling project, you’re a little overwhelmed by how to ensure they’re not only legal but also the best about what they do. You may feel uneasy.

Do you remember playing the game “Twenty Questions” as a kid? The same goes for hiring a contractor. You must use questions, deductive reasoning, creativity, and tact to ensure that you are making the most of your dollars (or hundreds of thousands of them).

First, how do you find the right contractor to interview?



How to find the right contractor

Whether you hire a remodeler for a residential or commercial real estate project, the first thing you want to consider is the contractor’s reputation.

  • Do you know anyone who has hired them before?
  • What did previous clients say about their work and its value?
  • Their credibility?
  • Their communication and punctuality?

It’s great to have friends and family who can guarantee a contractor for personal use, but you have to check their official reputation on your own. This is easy to do online.

Based on the research, once you have some confidence in their skills and abilities, answer the phone and start the interview.

When you meet for the first time, feel free to shoot a little breeze.

It’s great to know the contractor’s family, their priorities, and what they want to do. You want to respect their time, but spend just a few minutes doing this, and good contractors are usually very busy. Answer the questions as soon as you break the ice.

A good contractor understands how important your property and project are and knows that you will ask a lot of questions. If they don’t answer your question, they’re not your contractor. Run!

If they don’t show up in your appointment or interview, don’t give them a second chance. If you’re 30 minutes late, it’s better to have a good reason. If they accept that you are delayed or not appearing before hiring them, then there is no doubt that this behavior will remain consistent or even worse after you hire them.

When you meet a contractor, pay attention to their appearance and, if possible, the condition of their vehicle. It can tell a lot about a person’s organization and attention to detail. If you have fast food bags, empty water bottles, documents, and trash scattered all over, and you choose to use them, this can be the look of your home.

It is imperative that the contractor be thoroughly scrutinized during the interview process.

What to look for during a search

If you’re not careful about who you hire, it can cost you everything. Here are some tips to keep in mind in your first search.

  • Get multiple quotes. Start by getting quotes from multiple contractors, preferably about three.
  • Go local. If possible, a local contractor is the best option. They are familiar with local building codes and are always nearby if they need to be contacted in an emergency.
  • Check the appropriate license. Without a license, they will not be able to get the required permits. This means that your building does not comply with local building codes and does not pass inspection. Unfortunately, you are financially responsible for repairs to meet these rules. License is essential!
  • Please check the warranty. Warranty protects the contractor from having to return for multiple repairs over a long period of time, and also guarantees the homeowner that the contractor’s work is not crude or substandard, both. Great for the parties involved. Written warranty is required.
  • Check out their past work. Examine them Better Business Bureau Check their reputation. If possible, you need a contractor with at least 5 years of experience. Ask for a list of references from previous projects and follow them up. You can also check their reputation and reviews on social media platforms and Yelp.
  • Use the best payment method. Please do not pay in cash or in full in advance. Beware of contractors who request either. The first payment is about one-third of the estimated cost and must be made in the form of a check written by the company, not the individual.

Obtaining multiple quotes and carefully reviewing a contractor can be time consuming, but after all, it’s more valuable for peace of mind and a bank account.

Now that we’ve covered some tips to help you scrutinize your contractors, let’s narrow down some of the questions you might want to ask them.

Questions to ask during the interview

We have collected a list of the best questions to ask the contractor during the interview process.

How many people are working for you, and what is the structure of your company?

This will give you an idea of ​​how big their organization is. This is a good indicator of how long they have been and how well they have been established.

You can also find out what kind of support they offer. With admins, project managers, assistant managers, and other support to help you manage your project schedules and bills, it’s easier to reach out to your company when you need it. You don’t have to worry that the individual is your single contact.

How long do you run your crew?

This question will help give you a better idea of ​​what they are doing and whether they have a proven track record of being reliable over the long term.

We also encourage you to ask questions about crew turnover. If they have to fire framers every other week, you may have a hard time accomplishing that part of your refurbishment.

Do you have a license?

Make sure their license is up-to-date and registered in the state you are in.

Are you insured?

This includes general liability insurance and workers’ accident compensation. There is only one correct answer to this question. Hopefully if you say “yes”, ask for a copy of the policy.

Would you like to use a subcontractor for this project?

Ideally, a contractor can do the entire project on his own team, whether it’s residential or commercial real estate. This gives the general contractor more control over the timeline and budget.

If you need to subcontract a specific part of a project, for example, you can’t manage the schedule of this plumber or his painter.

Anyway, you need to make sure that each person who works is trained, licensed (if applicable), and insured. Subcontractors are not a danger signal in their own right, but they can create more work and extend the timeline.

Have you ever declared bankruptcy or run a company under a different name?

If they answer “yes”, you will need to do a little more research to ensure they will not go bankrupt again. You also need to check the previous company, as there may be reasons why the previous company is not yet in operation.

When investigating and interviewing, “passing the test” is not enough. You need to answer two questions: are they good people? And can you work with them?

Once you have a good understanding of the contractor’s reputation and experience, you can begin to understand the schedule, timeline, communication, and organizational structure.

Have you ever had to deal with a proceeding?

This question is subtle, but you need to know the answer. This question consists of three parts.

  • Have you ever been sued? The “yes” answer is not a direct reason to suspend the interview on the spot, but I would like to dig a little deeper to see what the proceedings are, the results, and how this contractor handled or responded. I would think. in addition.
  • Have you ever sued a client or submitted a mechanic lien to real estate? You need to understand the details. At the very least, it will give you an indicator of their transparency and personality. You can follow up on public records at any time.
  • Has your company experienced a serious accident that could lead to hospitalization or injury? Again, if the answer is yes, that’s okay. An accident will occur. The important thing is how the contractors deal with the situation and they continue to make sure it never happens again.

Do you agree to sign Lien’s release before I pay?

The answer should be “yes”.If the contractor does not want to sign Lien For some reason, their intentions are probably not what they should be.

How often do you communicate with your customers?

You need to understand how often they communicate with you. Do you report your progress daily or weekly?

It is important to ask first, not to the answer you want to hear. Their answer will soon give you an understanding of their professionalism.

Instead of a daily phone call, you can also suggest sending a text photo of your progress.

How do you get rid of the site?

Do not lead this question by saying, “Are you cleaning up the scene every day?” Instead, ask them what they are doing at the end of their daily work.

If they give some mid-answer, you might say, “If I wanted to get rid of my workplace at the end of every day, would that be a problem?” It is important to see what they are saying to your request and make your hiring decision based on how they react.

If the scene is confused, it’s your responsibility and looks like a slob to passers-by.

How many projects are you currently working on?

If you say your contractor is doing three jobs at once, they may not be able to meet your deadline.

The next question is, “How do you handle my work at the same time as the other three jobs?”

If you have to wait for them as they manage other tasks as well, your soft costs will start to run out of your profits every day.

What will our contract look like?

Many contractors don’t even use contracts (believe it or not), so it’s important to have this conversation first.

It’s best to draft a contract that you always use and have everyone sign it before you start working or exchanging money.

Not all contractors are okay with this, but you should ask a lawyer to review the contract before you can sign it. If it’s written by your contractor, it’s about protecting them, but you don’t have to be.

Who is at my house when?

If you haven’t been backgrounded by the company, you need to make sure that no one can enter your home.

In addition, when you give them explicit permission, and you want to make sure that there are only contractors working within the boundaries you have laid out.

How and when do you want to pay?

No matter what they say, a 50% prepayment is not reasonable. The appropriate amount of prepayment is about 30% of the estimated cost. Before you start work, make sure you agree to and sign a pre-determined payment schedule.

A good contractor has enough reserves to cover the cost of getting started, but sometimes money is needed for some materials. In that case, you can order the material and deliver it directly. Thus, you have what you paid for.

You need to be able to work well with your contractor. At the end of the day (or project), we want this contractor to respect your property. It was open and honest. I treated you fairly. Completed work on time, on time, and according to your personal standards.

If you find that you need to report a problematic contractor, the Federal Trade Commission’s “Consumer Information” Web page Here are some options for you to do so.

However, if you scrutinize the contractor properly in the first place, you don’t have to worry about having to report the contractor.

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