Top 10 Questions To Ask Your General Contractor

A general contractor is a professional that will be a very knowledgeable project manager. Reputable contractors will assist you with each and every aspect of your home renovation project from design to completion. They'll do all of the ordering, installation of materials, management and schedule in the various tradesmen who will come through and do their part to complete the project. This will help keep your project on budget and help it to follow the timeline. Heilman's Renovations has all that you need for your project.

Here are 10 questions that you should ask your general contractor prior to hiring them for the job.

1. How long have you been in business?

Find out how long the general contractor you're planning to hire has been in business. A reputable contractor will have done several major projects.

2. Do you have a business license?

Amazingly, not all renovation “contractors” have a proper and legal business license. As a homeowner, you have the legal right to ask to see the physical license. This license ensures that the contractor is legally allowed to do business in the renovation world and that they understand the building code requirements.

3. Do you have insurance?

You wouldn't drive your car without proper insurance, and you shouldn't hire a general contractor that doesn't have proper insurance either. Some contractors choose to do their insurance on each individual job. If they tell you that they're not insured and refuse to get it stating that they don't require it, don't hire them for the project. Any accident and you'd be held liable for their injuries as well as any damages. You could also wind up being sued. Find out also if they have worker's compensation insurance. This is also very important to have.

4. Can I contact one of or two of your previous clients?

Don't hesitate to ask for references and remember that the best references are always from a prior customer. Ask the reference what their overall experience with the general contractor was and if they are happy with their finished job. Ask them if they would hire them again and if there is anything that you may need to know regarding the company.

5. Can I see a finished project and/or a project that is currently under construction?

Don't hesitate to ask if you can see a job that they've done, or that they're doing. Walk into the renovation project and take a look at their organization, how they work together, how the various trades and workers treat the home they're working in and if they're proud of their work.

6. What is the renovation process?

Ask the general contractor to explain the process of renovation to you. They should tell you the order that renovations are done in and what stages they will require your input. They should also tell you if they're working on more than one job at a time and what their routine is. This should lead into the next question smoothly.

7. Who will be working on my renovation?

Many general contractors are full-service companies. They also have their own specific trades such as gas fitter, drywallers, plumbers, electrician and the like. In a lot of cases, the general contractor sub-contracts out part of the work. Don't hesitate to ask for proof of a business license, insurance and references for sub-contractors that will be on the job.

8. Can you give me a timeline?

Professional contractors should always be able to tell you their start date and when they project that they will complete the job. This should include all of the clean up that is required at the end of the renovation project. This information should be on a formal written contract that includes a timeline of the work project. You should also find out how any changes to the orders will affect the timeline of the project.

9. How much will it cost?

A reputable general contractor will work together with you to keep your renovation project within your budget. Always ask for written estimates that include each and every aspect of the project to include the required materials, the products, and the labor costs. If there are any additional fees these should also be listed. Keep in mind that you'll want to know how it's progressing so ask for periodic updates to ensure that it's on task and that you're still within your budget. Most general contractors will require a deposit, but they won't require you to pay all of the money up front, if they do require this, walk away and find another general contractor.

10. Can I get that in writing?

As previously mentioned, get everything in writing. Each and every detail of your renovation project should be written out. From the timeline to the cost, the all of the permits that are required and the materials that will be used in your project you'll want it all written out. Never sign a contract unless the contract is complete with all of the above details. Always remember that any changes can cost more money.

Don't hesitate to ask these questions of your North Vancouver General Contractor.