Hiring a contractor is a big decision, and it's important to make sure you're working with someone who is experienced and reliable. A contractor who has been practicing their trade locally for five or 10 years has an established network of subcontractors and suppliers in the area and a local reputation to maintain. That makes them a safer bet than a contractor who is new to the business or who plans to commute to work from 50 miles away. Before you hire a contractor, it's important to ask the right questions.
Celebrity contractor Mike Holmes recommends that you take the time to contact 20 clients for whom the contractor has done similar work. Then, you'll know the type of work they can do and the level of service you can expect. While many people don't ask their contractors if they are licensed and insured, it's essential to know before you start. Surprisingly, there are many contractors who don't have a license or insurance.
It's also important to ask your general contractor what their role is in the project. Whether they are dedicated to daily tasks or focus on budgeting, programming and training, the most important thing is that there is enough organization to keep the project running smoothly. If your general contractor is not onsite, be sure to ask what the day-to-day management of the site is like while you are away. Here are 17 questions to ask your contractor before renovating your home, as well as tips and tricks to ensure you find a licensed professional:
- How many years of experience do you have?
- How long have you worked with your subcontractors?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- What is your payment schedule?
- How many projects are you currently working on?
- What is your role in this project?
- Do you have a team big enough to support all of your projects?
- Do you belong to any professional associations?
- How do you handle disputes?
- Do you have any references I can contact?
- Can I get a fixed price for the job?
- Where do you get your materials from?
- What kind of liability insurance do you carry?
- Do you have any tips or tricks for finding a licensed professional?
- Do you have any advice for dealing with subcontractors?
- What should I do if something sounds too good to be true?
- Do I need to research potential contractors myself?
It's also important to research potential contractors yourself, as well as contact references and check their license status. Finally, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is - so trust your gut and move on.