Ready to remodel your home and find a great professional to complete the work? Wondering what to look for in a contractor? Worried that you will miss a red flag? Worry no more. When you call a contractor to request a consultation, you have an excellent opportunity to find out what they can offer you. These 10 questions can help to clarify your expectations and show you which companies make the grade.
People are often afraid to spend too much time asking for information from a prospective contractor, especially if they think it will make them sound ignorant. As experts, we believe that you should get as much detail as you can before you make a choice. After all, it’s your investment. Start by asking all these questions, plus any other concerns you might have.
Experience isn’t the only determiner of a contractor’s skill, but it is probably the biggest. As a general rule, you’re looking for a professional with at least a few years of experience completing projects that are similar to the one you have in mind. Remember that the company’s history isn’t always the same thing as professional experience. The point person who is making the big decisions for your project should be able to prove their skill before you start.
Looking at a sample portfolio is a great way to see a contractor’s previous jobs. Some professionals have decades of experience and may organize their portfolio by the project. As you browse, focus on the examples that are closest to your ideas. You’ll get a sense of their style and flow, as well as skill.
States usually require that a contractor maintain a license for projects above a certain cost. For example, North Carolina requires contractors to have an active license for projects that run more than $30,000. Every state has different requirements, so you should also make sure that the contractor is licensed to work in your state.
During a remodeling project, you need to confirm that you and your contractor have adequate insurance coverage in case something goes wrong. Contractors should carry a Certificate of Insurance that identifies their insurance carrier, as well as the policy’s effective dates and coverage limits. You may need additional insurance for the project, but this certificate is one form of protection.
A portfolio gives you ideas of a professional’s skill, but references let you know what to expect while working with the contractor. References are a vital part of the vetting process because you want to get a sense of what other homeowners think of their experience. Be ready to ask questions from each reference to help you fill out a complete picture.
Every professional has a different process for brainstorming, design, construction and completion. Ask a contractor questions to get a feel for what they think should happen throughout the course of the project, including:
The answers will help you learn more about the contractor, to determine if they are the right fit for your project at this time.
Most remodeling projects involve a payment schedule with a deposit and may include several disbursements at various stages. As a general rule, you should not pay for a project in full at the beginning. Instead, you should create a budget and plan to pay each portion on time. Contractors usually try to strike a balance that ensures they have the funds to order materials and pay for labor without asking you for too much at once.
Knowing who you will contact for updates and information throughout the project is one of the most important aspects. Some companies designate a single point of contact whom you can call, text or email. Most homeowners do well with this approach, especially if the person you communicate with is a lead on the project itself.
When you hire a contractor to remodel your home, you need them to respond to your communications. You also need to be comfortable responding to theirs. The right communication format is key. You don’t want a contractor sending you an email to ask, “Are you home?” when you only check your email late at night. Ask about your contractor’s communication preferences, and be sure to share yours as well. Designate one for regular information or updates, but consider adding one that you access regularly in case of emergencies or unexpected problems.
As you consult with contractors to see if they are a good fit, you may feel like you only get one chance to get all the information. Friends or family members with remodeled homes might say, “Don't ask questions you're not prepared to follow up.” Unfortunately, feeling like you need to be as much of an expert as the contractor can make you freeze up at the worst time. Keep in mind that a contractor wants your business, and should be willing to answer any other questions you have. The right one will be happy to offer plenty of information in a way that’s easy to understand.
Turning your home into a space that meets all of your needs and more calls for an expert contractor like Wood Construction and Remodeling. With these questions, you’ll know that you have found a great one. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation or find out more about our services.