Choosing the right contractor for your renovation or building project is one of the most important construction decisions you will make. A good contractor can ensure quality work and a smooth renovation, while the wrong one can trigger nightmares. Here are ten questions to ask that will help you make the right choice when choosing a contractor:
1. How long have you been in business?
Partnerships with businesses that have been in business for many years have withstood the test of time. Do your research ahead of time on any contractor you’re thinking of working with. If you find anything that makes you worry, ask about it. Contractors prefer that you voice your concerns so they have an opportunity to address them rather than take them out of the running.
2. Do you have a contractor’s license?
Cities, states and even counties have different requirements on whether contractors must obtain a license or an alternative credentials. You’ll want to make sure that yours has gone through all of the necessary channels to obtain any required certifications specific to their field of expertise.
3. Can I see your certificate of insurance?
Asking a contractor if he’s insured isn’t as telling as seeing how he is insured. Contractors should have both workers’ compensation and liability insurance specifically for the type of job they perform. Taking a look at certificates of insurance will give you the peace of mind that he’s not insured in an entirely different capacity than the job you’re hiring him for.
4. Will you obtain the permits and set-up the inspections required for this job?
Not every job requires permits or inspections, but most projects that in some way alter the structure of the building do. Your contractor should not only know what kind of permits you need and how to get them, but also be willing to pull them for you.
5. What is the payment schedule?
The Better Business Bureau advises never paying for the full price of contracting work upfront, and a reputable contractor shouldn’t ask you to. It’s important to discuss payment terms before construction begins. Be aware of exactly how much is due and when, perhaps by specific dates or based on completed stages of the project.
6. Will I have a dedicated team working on my job?
Contracting companies often work on multiple projects at a time, so it’s important to verify that you can count on consistency. You will want to know who comes to work on your home each day.
Be sure to ask these questions:
• Will the same team be working on my home each day?
• Who is the project manager, and what specifically will he oversee each day?
• Do you work with subcontractors? If so, what have you done to properly qualify them, and are they covered by your liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
• How do you address communication between the board, the management company, and yourself?
7. How will additional charges be dealt with?
Thanks to technology advancements, contractors are able to give more accurate pricing than ever before. Still, improvements can be unpredictable at times. Once a project is underway, it’s possible that circumstances will arise that increase the estimated price that was originally offered to you. It’s critical that your contractor be clear that he won’t spend a penny over your agreed-upon budget without first gaining your approval.
8. How will you clean up at the end of the day?
A quality contractor will make sure that end-of-day clean-up is always taken care of by his crew. Establish that he will remove trash (and learn where it will be disposed of), pick up stray items like nails from floors and outdoor areas, and wipe down surfaces that have gotten dusty during construction at the end of every work day.
9. What is your working day like?
It’s important for both homeowners and contractors to know what to expect on construction days before work begins, even if you don’t plan on being home while the work is being done. The targeted questions you’ll want to ask include:
• What are the approximate start and end times for construction day(s)?
• Do I need to remove any items that are in or near work areas?
• What will the noise level be like?
• Do you need me to be home at any point during the day?
You should also advise your contractor on key information about the project prior to your start date:
• The parking situation in your neighborhood
• Which restrooms, if any, are available for use
• Where available power outlets are located
• Who, if anyone, will be home during construction (including pets)
10. Is there a warranty for your service or the materials that you are using?
Most contractors offer a warranty or guarantee on their work. It’s important to know ahead of time what it covers and how long it will remain in effect.
Our experienced team is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. We know the importance of maintaining your property and keeping your family, friends, and employees healthy in the process. 614-863-9650.
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