Questions to Ask A Contractor

By Robert Robillard on Uncategorized

What you should be asking a contractor before hiring one


Questions to Ask A Contractor

Before hiring a contractor you may want to meet them and ask them a few questions before you allow them to work on your home.

1. Member of the local Chamber of commerce?

2. Member of other professional organizations?

3. Do they carry workers compensation and General liability insurance? Verify and ask for a copy.

4. Any adverse filing with Better Business Bureau?

5. Call references and look at past projects.

6. How many projects have you completed in the past year similar to this one?

7. Who will be doing the work?

8. Will the contractor be on-site?

Make sure the contract includes the following:

  • Contractor’s name, addresses, telephone number, and license number.
  • Start dates and projected completion dates.
  • Payment schedule.
  • Contractor insurance information.
  • Provision for conflict resolutions in case a dispute arises.
  • Clause giving you the right to cancel the contract within 3 business days.
  • Statement that the contractor will obtain and purchase all necessary permits.
  • Specifics on duties of homeowner and duties of contractor (i.e., clean-up, trash removal, hours of access, workers’ use of your phone and bathroom permission, if any, and time frame for lunch).
  • Project specifications (i.e., precise materials, appliance brands, measurements, etc.).
  • Visual representation of the project, if possible
    Written warranty covering materials and workmanship, including length of warranty.
  • Specification on how changes to original plan will be handled.
  • Clause for final inspection and sign-off prior to final payment.

Helpful hints:

Look closely at the budget to see which line items are actual numbers and which are allowances. Allowances are merely placeholder estimates and actual costs can be higher, significantly increasing the budget.

Most remodeling projects exceed the actual budget – be sure to have a buffer savings in case project costs increase. I usually tell my clients to plan for at least 10%.

If you are on a tight budget, resist “while you’re here mentality” – it may be more cost-efficient to do an added project during the current construction than at a later date, but it’s even more cost-effective not do it at all.

Be realistic about your wants and needs for the remodeling project avoid getting carried away.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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