What you should be asking a contractor before hiring one
Questions to Ask A Contractor
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.
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.