The Five most Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor
Ask around among folks who have recently built or remodeled a home and you'll hear some horror stories. The best way to avoid messy problems and poor outcomes is to do some homework before hiring. Understand who you are hiring and what specifically they propose to do and for how much. here are some things you don't want to forget to ask about.
- What are the Details? Be sure to have a plan either scale drawings or a very detailed description of all work to be performed. Ask what materials, brands, styles and colors your contractor is basing his proposal on. You must fully understand what you are going to be expected to pay for.
- Is the Contractor Insured? Ask for a certificate of insurance for both liability and worker's comp from your contractor. he or she should have certificates on file for all subs working on the project as well. Your local agent is a great resource to help you understand what your coverage is and what you should expect to see from a contractor.
- Who are the Subs? Ask to what parts of the job will be sub-contracted. Be sure that all licence requirements are met and that codes are followed. Don't be afraid to ask who the subs will be.
- What is the Payment Schedule ? Ask how payments will be handled and what initial deposit might be required. While you can't expect a contractor to finance your project out of his own pocket, don't hand over more than seems reasonable as a deposit. Never advance the total amount of a contract price before completion of work. Establish benchmarks to be completed and define the amount to be remitted, i.e. xx% deposit, xx% when framing and electrical/plumbing is roughed in, xx% at completion. understand how changes are to be quoted and billed.
- Did you ask for References? Many never bother to check or even ask for references. This is the greatest mistake a homeowner can make. The best reference is from a friend or family member who has experience with the contractor, but by all means call the folks listed as a reference.
If you are planning a very expensive project you might consider consulting with experts like an attorney, a local code officer, the local fire chief, an engineer. Don't risk a large amount of cash or the value of your home by not doing your homework.