Five Questions To Ask Every Contractor
This article was originally published on our sister website NC Home Remodeling in Raleigh.
Hiring a plumber or any general contractor do work on your home is placing your trust and money in a stranger that you may not know much about. Now there shouldn’t be anything to worry about as this “stranger” is a licensed and, hopefully, reviewed professional. But, there are some key questions you will want to ask this contractor before entering your home and/or signing a contract for he or she to do work on your house.
Are You Licensed?
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Every now and then you can find a contractor who is not licensed, so asking this question up front can help. Usually, contractors pass an exam to get a license from their state board and each year take a designated number of continuing credits. It’s like going back to school for contractors so they can stay current on building codes and business practices.
Do You Have References?
As previously stated, you’re going to want to hire a professional who has professional references. Talking to people the contractors have previously worked with is often the best way to find out about their work. Sometimes the contractor with the lowest bid is the best for the job. Just make sure to ask enough questions so you feel confident in your hire.
When you call references, asking how easy or hard it is to get a hold of the contractor, and how clean and secure they leave a jobsite—especially if they are to be working in your home are popular questions to verify their quality.
Is My Home Protected?
This is a conversation best had before demolition or early on in the process. There are many different ways to contain dust during construction, so planning ahead of time will give you will a clear idea of how your house will be cordoned off and what areas will be off-limits during construction.
There’s also the issue of your belongings —furniture, books, paintings on the wall and more. It’s ideal to remove them from the construction area. Remember that objects on walls on shelves in adjacent rooms can come loose from hammering. It’s better to move your belongings all at once so you know they’re safe and sound during construction.
What Is The Schedule?
It’s not just about a start and end date. Having a detailed schedule that tells you what days and times workers will be in your home as well as deadlines for individual tasks is very helpful. It will give you an easy way to tell if the contractor is falling a day or two behind. Don’t even think about starting without a schedule.
What Will The Paperwork Look Like?
At the end of the project you will, hopefully, be left with a better looking or functioning home.
You’ll want to be sure you receive a final payment contract, or itemized receipt for the work completed, but there may be additional items you will find valuable: a full set of pictures before work was completed, the manuals for newly-installed equipment, a list of subcontractors used, care instructions for things such as countertops and a well-marked electrical panel. Making sure you will receive these things before the work gets started will allow you to have all the information you need when the project is finished.
These questions, and any more you can think of, will be vital tools for helping you find the best plumber and/or contractor to begin working on your home today.