Ask These Questions Before You Hire a Contractor

Posted by Daniel Edelman on

Whether you're gearing up for a minor powder room update or a full-fledged home remodel, it's important to interview several contractors and ask the right questions so you can decide who to work with. Here's a few questions to get you started:

How soon can you start my project and how long will it take to complete?  

Establishing a timeline for the start and completion of your project is crucial. Some of the best contractors are also the busiest with schedules booked 2-3 months out. Lining up your own personal goals and deadlines with the contractor's availability is a great starting point.

What wholesalers do you purchase materials and fixtures from? 

Many contractors have established relationships with local suppliers for plumbing, electrical, flooring, windows, doors, etc. Having a knowledgeable sales team to guide you through the selection process will make the project run smoothly. Find out whether your potential contractor has these relationships. If they do not, find out who will be responsible for supplying materials and fixtures. A huge benefit of working with a skilled contractor is having peace of mind knowing they will coordinate your project materials and make sure everything is compatible with your application.

Where can I see an example or photos of your work?

Although it's sometimes trickier to arrange, seeing a contractor's work first-hand is the best way to see the quality and craftsmanship. Ask if there are any projects in progress so you can visit the jobsite to take a peek. If there are no opportunities to see their work in person, ask to see a portfolio of photos.

Do you have references we can contact?

When it comes to remodeling, there's more to the final product than meets the eye. Factors like scheduling and communication are just as critical to having a good experience. Ask for 2-3 references from your potential contractor to learn about the experiences they've created for other clients. You can learn a lot with just a quick phone call.

Who will be on site and how is the project supervised?  

Learn about the day-to-day schedule of what will be happening on site. Knowing who will be there can be a great comfort factor in knowing your home is in good hands while you are not there. Also, ask how many other projects your contractor will be working on simultaneously to get an idea of how your project will be prioritized. How often will be they be working at your home? A few hours a day, once a week, a full week straight?

How much can I expect to pay for this project?

Budgets are a necessary evil when it comes to planning your remodel project. Talking to prospective contractors about the budget upfront will help you not only to plan your project realistically, but to arrange your finances appropriately. Don't be afraid to ask the difficult money-related questions. Your contractor should expect it and be ready to discuss your project, budget and all.

Photos: 1. Freshome, 2. JP Compass

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