Whether you are constructing a new building or undertaking a renovation, you will undoubtedly need to make many complex decisions along the way. Thus, having the right contractors on your side can help make a big difference.
Hence, this article presents you with some questions to ask before you hire a general contractor!
#1. Tell Me About Your Experience.
Construction projects consist of unique challenges and in this field, a good level of relevant experience is required. For instance, when you are hiring builders, you want to be sure that they can anticipate the challenges and use their knowledge and lessons learned from past construction projects to overcome these challenges. So, if you don’t want your building to be a training ground for novice contractors, don’t be shy and ask the following questions:
- How long have you been working in this industry?
- Do you have experience renovating homes of similar quality and style to my house?
#2. Do You Have a Contracting License?
Among all the questions to ask a builder, this is one of the most important ones, since licensing is considered a crucial aspect of the construction world. Depending on different states or countries, a contractor’s license is obtained through different requirements. As a homeowner, it is vital to make sure that the builder you hire has gone through the necessary channels to get their required certification in this specific field. For example, it doesn’t make sense to hire a builder who has a license in carpentry.
So, my dear friends, if you don’t want to hire an unlicensed contractor who could potentially leave you with a gaping hole in your living room, you might be better off asking for a copy of their license and then contacting the issuing authority to verify the authenticity of the license.
#3. Can You Provide a List of References?
“Past performance is a great indicator of what future performance will be.”
– Cheryl Reed, Director of Communication at Angie’s List
Many might consider this unnecessary, but let me tell you that you should never skip this phase. When you ask for a list of past of clients to a contractor, there can only be two responses. Either a credible contractor finds no problems in providing some references or he sprints away like Usain Bolt.
Therefore, as per celebrity contractor Mike Holmes, one should always take the time to speak to former clients to learn more about the type of work and service the contractor offers. Below you will find a list of questions you ought to ask to these former clients:
- What would you say is the strength of this builder?
- Was your renovation completed on schedule? If not, why not? What were the reasons for the delay?
- Did the builder communicate clearly and promptly?
- Did you feel your original estimate was accurate and thorough?
- Did the renovation go over budget? What were the specific reasons for the added costs?
- How did the builder react when faced with challenges?
- Was the project clean and organized?
- How has the builder responded to warranty issues since your project was completed?
- If you had another renovation project, would you choose this builder again? Why or why not?
#4. Which Types of Insurance Do You Carry?
Firstly, your contractor needs to have a general liability insurance that protects your home from any damage or negligence by the contractor and his workers. For instance, if they hit a water line and flood your house, this insurance will mean that they will have to take the responsibility for this type of disaster.
Furthermore, suppose a worker falls from a ladder and breaks his back while working on your construction project. Now, if he is uninsured, guess who could be held responsible for his medical bills? Of course, you! Therefore, if you don’t want to pay for someone else’s back surgery, make sure your contractor has workers’ compensation insurance
And please, do me a favour and don’t take your contractor at his word. Instead, for your own peace of mind, request for a copy of your contractor’s insurance certificate and make sure to check the expiration dates.
Will you consider these questions? Please share your comments!