You've found a potential contractor for your remodel or basement finishing project?
Now’s the perfect time to have a conversation with them and ask them some key questions that will be important for you to consider before hiring.
1. How long have you been in business?
Choosing a company with experience means that you are not just gaining a contractor, you are gaining years of knowledge; not just on the industry, but on design trends, product longevity, and building techniques.
A solid company history can also show that the contractor has developed successful systems and best practices to ensure that their work is done correctly, in a timely manner, and on budget.
2. Are you insured?
Ask to see the contractor’s Certificate of Insurance. Contractors should have both Workman’s compensation and Liability Insurance.
3. Are you licensed?
Ask if the contractor is licensed, and if you can see their license. The license should be up to date, and from your local building department. You can always call the local building department and inquire about the contractor you are looking to hire. Remember, you are looking to hire the contractor and should get the professionalism that comes with.
4. Will you obtain the permits and set up the inspections required for this project?
Any project that changes the structure of your home requires permits to be pulled and inspections to be completed through the state of Colorado. A reputable contractor will know exactly what you need and how to get them. They should also be willing to pull the permits for you and take care of all of the scheduling for the necessary inspections.
5. What’s the payment schedule?
A reputable contractor will never ask for the entirety of the payment up front. Typically, there will be a down payment (a percentage of the contract) up front. You can then talk to your contractor about setting up a specific payment schedule, agreed upon by both parties; either by dates or stages of completion.
6. What’s the timeline for completion?
It’s important as a homeowner to have realistic expectations regarding your home renovation or building project. Talking with the contractor regarding the timeline and completion schedule for the project up front is a great way to manage your expectations, discuss your concerns, any scheduling conflicts you might have, and how it will be handled if something comes up that changes the completion deadline. Ask your contractor on the expected date of completion.
7. Do you offer a warranty?
Many reputable contractors offer a warranty or guarantee of their work. It’s important to find out about what your contractor offers before you make the decision to hire them. Also, many materials that you will select for your project will offer a manufacturer's warranty as well, appliances or carpet for example. Be sure to request a copy of these documents as soon as they are available.
8. Who will be my point of contact, and what’s the best way to get a hold of him/her?
Good communication is key when maintaining a great relationship with your contractor throughout your project. Make sure that you know your point of contact. If you haven’t already, ask to meet your point of contact and their team before your project begins. Your contractor should be happy to build a relationship with you and to build your trust in their team.
9. How will you protect my home throughout this project?
There are many ways that a contractor should take measures to protect your home during a project. From properly storing tools during off-hours to ensuring the security of your home throughout all the comings and goings of the team; your contractor should have a clear process in place to ensure the overall care and safety of your home. If your project is open to the existing house, make sure they use plastic and floor protection items in your home.
10. What will your schedule look like during the project?
Even if you don’t plan on being home during the team’s working hours, it’s important to understand what will be going on and any considerations that you’ll need to make. Smells, loud noises, foot traffic, etc are important to understand before the project begins. You may also want to let your neighbors know what’s going on and any considerations that they may need to make.
11. Do you have references?
Ask to see references, referrals, and/or testimonials from other clients. Most reputable contractors, especially those who have longevity in the community will gladly show you their references, testimonials, before/after photos, etc. Take the time to look at them. Have a phone number for a reference? Call it. Find out as much as you can about them and their work. The local Better Business Bureau is a great reference as well, see if they have an A+ rating and if there are any negative comments.