15 Questions to Ask Home Remodelers Before Hiring
￼Remodeling your home is an exciting time. There is so much to do and so many things to think about. But before you jump right into hiring remodeling professionals, make sure you’re working with the right ones.
Choosing the right remodeling professionals can be the difference between your dream home and a nightmare. You’ve probably heard horror stories about remodeling projects gone terribly wrong due to unqualified and unprofessional contractors. Don’t let this happen to you!
Protect yourself by screening prospective companies using detailed questions. You may not know everything about remodeling -- that’s why you’re hiring professionals -- but with a few straightforward questions, you can learn everything you need to know about prospective contractors.
The remodeling company you choose to work with should be your trusted partner. They should be qualified, fair, and trustworthy. Together, you are bringing your vision to life in your home. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you’ve asked potential remodelers these important questions.
1. Are you licensed and insured?
First and foremost, the company should be a legally compliant business. That means they should have a proper license and insurance.
Licensing is important because it ensures companies are qualified to do the work based on state requirements. Insurance protects both the company and you from damages and liabilities throughout the course of the project.
Make sure the company you work with not only has a license and insurance but that they’re also both up to date.
2. Will you be acquiring the permits?
In most states, the contractor is legally required to pull building permits. After all, they are the professionals that have expertise in the process. When the contractor pulls the permit in their name, they are responsible for the work to pass inspection, not you. If you don’t have a permit, you can face all kinds of legal difficulties.
About & History
3. How long have you been in business?
It’s always better to work with experienced professionals. Look for a company that’s been in business long enough to provide at least ten to twenty references. While a long work history doesn’t necessarily mean better service, it’s definitely a positive sign that the contractors know what they’re doing.
4. Do you specialize in any area in particular?
Although it may not be necessary to work with specialists, it’s worth asking your remodeling company if they have any areas of expertise. Basements, kitchens, and bathrooms may require specialized knowledge.
For example, a basement is more prone to moisture problems and needs special attention in order to minimize mold and moisture. If you’re looking to remodel your basement, seek out a contractor who has worked on basements in the past.
5. What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?
Companies who do great work earn business through word-of-mouth. Satisfied clients are likely to tell their friends and family about their experience. If a high percentage of the company’s business comes from referrals, that’s a good sign they know how to make their clients happy. They can probably make you happy too.
6. Can you provide recent referrals or references?
Checking references is one of the best ways to find out if your contractor is up to par. Online reviews are another way to get information from previous clients, but they can’t always be trusted. The best way is to get the lowdown from people who have first-hand experience. After all, past performance is one of the greatest indicators of what future performance will be.
7. Can I see examples of your work?
At a minimum, ask to see examples of the company’s work.
Even if they don’t provide references, they should at least have a portfolio you can take a look at of past projects.￼
8. Who will be designing the space?
Design work and construction work are two very different things. It’s important to know who will actually design the space.
Is design work done in-house by the remodeling company or do they work with partners? Is design included in the initial estimated cost? Will there be multiple designs to choose from? How much assistance will you receive in making design decisions?
A great remodel doesn’t happen without great design. Make sure this step is very clear before proceeding to the next.
9. Who will participate in the construction?
It’s not unreasonable to want to know exactly who will be in your home. For small remodeling projects, it may only be a couple of contractors. However, for larger projects, you may have a whole construction crew on your hands.
Clarify with the remodeling company if they will be working with outside companies and subcontractors on your property. Also, identify the lead person you can reach out to with questions or concerns.
10. When will you start and finish?
Start and finish dates determine the project timeline. While unexpected problems may occur, an experienced contractor should be able to give you a projected timeframe for the completion of the project.
When something unexpected happens that extends the duration of the project, make sure you let your contractor know of any concerns you may have.
11. What is the daily schedule?
Taking on a remodeling contract is a commitment for the company, but it’s also a commitment for you and your household. Your daily life will be affected until the project is complete.
It’s important to clarify exactly what the daily schedule looks like. The remodeling contractor should be able to tell you specific hours and days of the week that work will be done. And of course, the contractor should stick to that schedule both as a courtesy to you and also to meet deadlines.
12. Do you offer a warranty?
Working with a contractor that offers a warranty is one way to instantly put your mind at ease. Make sure you get all the details in writing. The written warranty should explain what the contractor will cover and for how long. Don’t forget to clarify what you responsibilities are to maintain the warranty.
13. How will you protect my property?
This one’s a biggie. You’re remodeling to make your home better, not worse! The last thing you want is property damage in the midst of a remodel.
Ask your contractor what measures they will take to protect your property. They should have clear systems in place for dust containment and establishing a safe construction zone.
14. How will you communicate with me?
Communication is so important between you and your remodeling contractors. Make sure you establish the mode and frequency of communication throughout the project. Set expectations for availability and any “after hours” concerns. Weekly meetings at a consistent time are a great way to make sure you and your contractor are on the same page.
15. What kind of documentation will I receive when the project is done?
When everything's said and done, what will you be left with? Besides a newly remodeled space that exceeds your expectations, of course. Make sure your remodelers provide you with all the documentation you need.
End-of-project paperwork can include:
* Lien waivers
* Inspection reports
* Marked-up plans
* Operation manuals for new appliances or equipment
* List of subcontractors and contact information
Specifying this documentation at the beginning confirms you will get everything you need when the project is complete.
Hire The Best Remodelers For The Job
Congratulations on doing your homework! By asking these questions up front, you are sure to find a great contractor to work with.
If you live in the North Chicago suburbs such as Arlington Heights, Barrington, and the surrounding towns, contact Patrick A Finn, Ltd. We’d love to answer all these questions and more for you. Let’s talk about how we can help you bring your remodeling vision to life.