Questions to ask before hiring a remodeling contractor...
How long have you been in this business?Home remodeling can be a complex process, involving many aspects of construction, electrical work and plumbing. Knowing that your potential remodeling contractor is a seasoned professional will give you some assurances that he or she can accurately estimate work as well as spot potential issues. Be sure you're looking for contractors that have worked on homes similar to yours or have extensive knowledge with your project type. Hoover has been in business over 23 years.
Are you licensed, bonded and insured?It's important that your remodeling project is performed up to current building standards. Building codes are there for a reason – they help ensure safety for the homeowner and is important when trying to sell your home. A professionally licensed remodeling contractor should show you his or her license information and should be able to answer questions regarding training. Ask your contractor about the dollar amounts of their bonding and insurance. Similar to car insurance, these assurances will help protect you in the event of property damage, unpaid subcontractors, accidents or injuries.
Can you provide me with several references?You may be impressed with a remodeling contractor's body of work. But how well did they work with their clients? Asking for references is a good way to know more about the style of communication and how well the project went. Getting three references is a good way to determine if this is the contractor for you.
What is the best way to communicate with you and your crew?Communication is key when working with a contractor. You'll want to ask questions regarding next steps, what the contractor expects from you as well as what you expect from the contractor. Understanding schedules and needs, like when the crew arrives and departs, or if they need access to your bathroom, will help the project go smoothly. Figure out a realistic, but regular, meeting schedule so you can stay on top of any issues or delays in the project.
When can I review a contract and payment schedule?After discussing these questions with your contractor, and reviewing the proposed project, you'll want to receive a detailed contract. The contract should outline the entire scope of work along with materials, supplies, rentals, permits needed, subcontractors, overall timeframe, and payment schedule. A large remodeling project should have a lengthy contract or scope of work. Before you sign, make sure you understand all ramifications such as early termination or cancellation. After both parties sign the contract, any further changes will require a work change order.