Over the years we’ve listened to many homeowner horror stories due in part to bad contractor relationships. This feedback has helped us identify which aspects of the remodel homeowners feel the most anxiety and where they were left vulnerable to unscrupulous contractors in the past. We’ve developed the following list of 10 Questions to ask any prospective contractor. We hope these questions can empower you as you prepare for your next project. (This list is an excerpt from our E-Book: “How to Hire a Contractor Without Contracting an Ulcer.”)
1. How long have you been in business? –Do you really want someone learning the ropes on your job? Of course not. Finding an established contractor (e.g. licensed, bonded, and insured) will be the first place to start in your search for the right contractor.
2. Do you offer fixed price proposals? –Is that price guaranteed and what, if any contingencies could cause that price to change? You want to know that your contractor has skills to accurately evaluate the scope of the project. The accuracy of the estimate will have an effect on other areas of the remodel as well (e.g. project schedule, budget, and quality of work).
3. Do you have written step-by-step installation processes for every major type of work you perform? -In the remodeling business many procedures are repetitious. Also the best remodeling contractors know how to maximize their efficiency. Documenting the process allows every employee to execute the task just as the job was estimated- eliminating surprises and miscommunications.
4. What is your communication policy? – (how quickly did they return your call…) -Find out how they prefer to communicate (e.g. cell phone, email, text, all of the above?) Even the busiest contractor should have a system in place for returning calls & emails in a timely manner. This is the time to get an idea of how committed they are to prompt communication.
5. Do your crews have a written daily clean up procedure? -Make sure the contractor you are considering is committed to keeping your home clean and safe during the project. This should also be a question to ask each of their references: Was the job clean? Was your house in a safe condition at the end of each day?
6. Will there be a lead or project manager on site everyday? Will this be the same person throughout the whole project? -You want to know who is gonna be responsible for important tasks such as material deliveries and change orders. Having a focal person to communicate with will put you at ease and help the project run smoothly.
7. Do you offer flexible scheduling? -A competent contractor will make an effort to ensure your project will have the least impact on your family’s routine. You’ll want to know when you’ll be without certain functions of the house (e.g. water or the use of a kitchen). Knowing in advance when these services will be interrupted can help you to make alternative accommodations for your family, such as a well timed vacation!
8. What is your warranty? What is included in the warranty & for how long?
9. Do you belong to any of the local/national industry associations? -Association membership shows a strong commitment toward continuing education (staying current on best practices, new materials, and code requirements) and an involvement in the community. Industry associations have specific criteria that must be met in order for members to remain in good standing.
10. Do you have a list of at least 15 references I can call? -That’s right, 15. This will give you a better sample size of the contractor’s experience and track record. Anybody who is an expert in their trade should have no problem giving you a list of 15 satisfied, recent clients. Granted you don’t have to call all 15 but keep in mind even the worst contractor can probably scrape together 1-3 “positive” references.
Lastly, Listen to Your Gut Instincts! If the savings they project are not adding up or their promises seem too good to be true, it probably is. If you do your homework in advance and identify what characteristics are absolutely necessary in the contractor you’d like to invite in your home you will have a higher likelihood of enjoying a successful remodel experience.
Do you enjoy discovering new Kitchen, Bathroom, or Home Renovation Ideas? Check out our backlog of Previous Blogs It’s a great resource for Home Owners.
Are you looking for assistance designing your new Bathroom?
Is there another room in your home that is ready for a Remodel?
We’d love to hear about your project. Contact us today (425) 533-7896 or Book your in-home consultation online!