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Top 10 Questions to Ask a Contractor before Making the Hire

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Contractor before Making the Hire

Home remodeling projects are intensive endeavors that require a fair amount of planning, building, inspections, and the obtaining of the right building permits.  Due to the intensity of these projects, many homeowners hire a contractor to help with the planning and handle the building process including getting the necessary building permits.  Hiring a contractor should not be taken lightly however because home remodeling projects require so much work that is usually beyond the understanding of the homeowner, making it easy for a contractor to take advantage.  It is wise to do some research into the price ranges of different home contractors before talking to anyone and when you do meet with remodeling contractors, you should ask questions to understand their procedure and quality of work.

The following are questions to ask a contractor before hiring one for your home remodeling project.

How long have you been providing home remodeling services?

The longer a remodeling contractor has been in business, the more experience and credibility they are likely to have.

Is your company licensed, insured, and bonded?

Every home contractor should be licensed and have liability insurance to cover any damage to your home.  Not all contractors are bonded and finding one that is bonded is a bonus as it will protect your home from a remodeling job gone wrong.

Do you provide written guarantees?

A written guarantee is definitely preferable to a verbal guarantee, make sure to ask for a written guarantee of exactly what will be done so that the contractor will be obligated to deliver.

Do you have any references?

If a home contractor can provide references, this means they have done successful work with satisfied customers. You should ask for pictures of previous jobs and reviews from customers and if a contractor cannot provide good references, it may not be a good idea to hire them.

Do you obtain every necessary permit?

Building permits are required to do remodeling projects and working without them can cost you fines.  It is possible for you to get the permits yourself but it is better for the contractor who is properly licensed to get the permits to make sure you have all permits necessary.  If a home contractor is willing to get every needed permit than they are more likely to stand behind their quality of work.

Who will be the project manager?

Chances are the first person you talk to about the estimate will not be the same person managing the project.  You should ask to meet the project manager before the work begins so that you can decide if you want to work with this person.

What is the daily schedule and timeframe for the entire project?

It can be difficult to accurately gauge how long a remodeling project will take as weather conditions, delayed orders, and other unexpected surprises can extend the timeframe of the project.  A competent remodeling contractor will still provide you with start and end dates for the project as well as a daily schedule for their work crews.

Will you need access to the bathroom or water?

Home contractors generally bring their own water but they will most likely need access to your bathroom.  Knowing this ahead of time gives you a chance to create a pathway from the jobsite to the bathroom that you prefer the crew to use.

Do you need keys or the garage code to get into the house? Who will hold onto the keys?

Most homeowners are not comfortable with letting home contractors have their house keys but you have to allow access if you are not going to be home when they work.  You should know who has the keys or garage code to your home so you can trust that they will respect your property.

Is there a contract?

A reliable, competent remodeling contractor should have no problem signing a contract that spells out all the work that is to be done, the necessary materials, the timeframe for the project, costs, and stipulations for unanticipated problems.  It is also wise to include a termination clause so that either party can terminate the contract under the agreed-upon circumstances.

If you are trying to find a contractor for some remodeling work in your home, make sure you do some research into the contractors near you and ask these important questions before hiring a contractor.  Home contractors provide professional remodeling work and will take care of all necessary permits and asking these questions will help you find a reliable and credible contractor that you can count on.  If you live in the North Chicago suburbs including Arlington Heights, Barrington, and the surrounding areas, contact Patrick A. Finn, Ltd. or call us at (847) 358-4133 to discuss your project with our home designers.