Questions for Contractors

It’s your home… so make sure that you get exactly what you want. Both you and your contractor will have a plan and a vision for your remodeling project. Make sure that you ask these certain questions in order to ensure that your contractor’s ideas merge with yours.

Timing and money are the most common questions a home improvement contractor hears, but during an interview with a homeowner when homeowners should be asking about credentials and verifying business practices what is often heard is, “When can you start? When will it be finished? How much will it cost?”

These days, these simple questions aren’t enough. Yes, timing may be “everything” in comedy, but that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to remodeling. If you are going to have a successful remodeling project, you need to learn the right questions to ask and how to ask them. You should ask these questions:

Question 1:

How long have you been in business?

Question 2:

Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job?

Question 3:

Who will be working on the project? Are they employees or subcontractors?

Question 4:

Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance? (Always verify this information by calling the agency. A copy of an insurance certificate does not let you know if the policy is still current. Even if the certificate has an expiration date, you cannot tell if the insurance has been canceled by either party.)

Question 5:

What is your approach to a project such as this?

Question 6:

How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year?

Question 7:

Can you provide a list of references from those projects?

Question 8:

Can you provide a list of business referrals or suppliers?

Question 9:

What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?

Question 10:

Are you a member of a national trade association?

Question 11:

Have you or your employees been certified in remodeling or had any special training or education, such as earning a Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS) or Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) or Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (CKBR) designation?

It’s also important to realize that sometimes it’s not the answers you get that are significant, but what you don’t get. Asking the right questions is not enough. You need to pay attention to your instincts and to what information is missing.

Unlike your accountant or stockbroker, your remodeler will be a part of your daily life and available for some on-the-job education. He or she will be privy to your personal life, more so than your doctor or lawyer. Your contractor will know how you look early in the morning and how well behaved your dog is. It makes sense that you should take some time to carefully select this person and make sure that it is someone to whom you can ask questions.