Ask These Seven Questions to Make Hiring a Contractor Less Risky
Building a new home or remodeling your old one can be exciting as well as challenging. The key to a smooth experience is to hire a reliable contractor to oversee the job. So, what questions should you ask before you sign that contract?
1. Ask Them About Their Business
Find out how many years of experience the contractor has, either running his company or working for another builder in the business. If all your contractor’s experience is in building decks but you need a full home remodel, you may want to consider companies that have a wider range of experience. You should also ask your contractor about their employees such as how long they have worked with them. Don’t be afraid to ask for at least three references and call them. If you don’t feel comfortable with their responses to your questions, keep looking for someone else.
2. Make Certain Any Contractor You’re Considering Is Licensed, Bonded and Insured
Any reputable contractor should have a contracting license along with a business license. Each municipality has different requirements, but a person who makes an effort to get a license is willing to go the extra step to make sure their skills and knowledge are up to industry standards. Contractors should also be insured for workers’ compensation and liability, as well as being bonded to protect their clients. Making sure your contractor has the proper paperwork can help avoid potential legal troubles down the road.
3. Who Will Be Working on Your Home and Who Will Manage Subcontractors
Larger contractors have multiple crews working several jobs around the area. You should ask if the same crew will work on your job for the duration of the project. Having the same crew on site every day allows for better consistency and greater trust as the job goes along. Get a list of the subcontractors that are expected to work on your project as well. You also need to know who you should talk to about small questions that come up during the day or if there is a problem that needs immediate attention. That person may be the contractor, or it may be the onsite project manager.
4. Find Out How the Construction Crew Works
Hiring a contractor means your typical day will be disrupted. This is especially true if you’re living in your home during a remodel. Communicating about the daily details can head off the problems that make building or remodeling so frustrating. Find out what time you should expect the crew to arrive and leave every day. If you get ready for the team to arrive at 6:00 AM and they don’t show up until 9:00, you’re bound to feel resentment. Remember in hot weather as we have in Texas, some work crews like to start as early as possible. It’s better to know this up front! If the crew usually works on Saturdays and you need that day to get away from the noise of compressors and the whine of saws, you should discuss this now. Additionally, you should know how the crew is expected to clean up at the end of each day, where they will park, and where they will use the restroom.
5. Request That They Explain Everything That is Included in the Contract
Of course, you would not hire someone without a contract, but you also need to make sure certain information is in the contract. You expect the scope of work and price to be included, but there should be additional information as well. For instance, it should spell out who will be responsible for obtaining permits and overseeing inspections. Additionally, there should be a reasonable timeline outlined in the contract about when the work will begin and end.
6. What Kind of Warranties Are Included With The Contract
With multiple people working on a building or remodeling job, there could be different promises about the quality of work from each entity. Ask your contractor if his work and that of his crew are covered by a warranty. Find out if the subcontractors, such as plumbers and electricians, have separate warranties. Finally, make sure the products installed, such as kitchen appliances or bathroom fixtures, have warranties.
7. Ask How They Typically Resolve Disagreements or Problems
Working with people always includes the possibility of disagreement, so if you are up front about how to resolve disputes it can help make sticky situations less of a hassle.
Asking these questions when hiring a contractor will help ensure your new home construction or remodel runs smoothly and that you’re getting a top-notch firm.
About Houston Plans and Permits
Houston Plans & Permits provides custom design services for builders and homeowners located in greater Houston. Our home plans are designed to meet your town’s building code requirements, and our professional permit expeditors will oversee and complete your building permit applications and walk them through your town’s entire Permit process.