7 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Contractor
Hiring the right contractor is the key to completing renovation and construction projects to your utmost satisfaction. To make an informed decision and avoid messing up a huge investment, you have to factor in multifarious aspects. Some of them are great telltale signs that can help you discern whether a contractor is trustworthy or not. Ensure that everything matches your expectations and preferences. Know what to expect before the working phase commences.
What are the payment terms?
Do not just accept the terms presented to you as they are usually negotiable. Stand your ground and ask the contractor to put everything in the writing. A binding document should flash out the payment structure and include terms that protect all parties involved. In case you are unsure of how to proceed, note that there are basic agreement templates you can download. The only exceptions to the have-it-written-down rule are the projects that cost less than $500.
Are you licensed?
A contractor should have all the necessary licenses and permits to handle home renovations and improvement services in your area. Naturally, cities, states, and counties have different requirements for licensing and certification. In any regard, you do not want unlicensed company handling structural, plumbing, and electrical work. There are many legal and material ramifications that could arise and it would be out of your hand to solve them.
How long have you been in the business?
Years of experience in the business speak volumes about the company and serve as a telling indicator. Namely, reputable companies that operate for some time leave a trail of happy customers. They have moved past growing pains, ramped up technical expertise, and raised the bar of quality. Moreover, they have a system of mechanisms and controls to deliver promised results. Just to be sure that someone is telling the truth you ought to seek client testimonials and reviews online.
How will we communicate?
Good and open communication is the bedrock of fruitful business relationships. So, determine how you want to communicate: via meetings, conference calls, or something else? Ideally, a company should provide more than one way to reach them, which in my experience, the very best property developers in Sydney do. In this day and age, not being present on social media and instant messaging platforms is hard to justify. I would also keep an eye on how fast contractor is to respond to your messages and calls.
What about insurance?
In the world of home improvement, construction and renovation, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, check whether the contractor has the Worker’s Compensation that covers injuries that could occur to laborers. What is more, it is a good idea to ask about general insurance. You cannot afford not to prepare for potential damage to your property. For an extra layer of protection, see if you can be the certificate holder for both of these insurances.
How long is it going to take?
A clear schedule in the form of the timeline of completion helps in managing expectations and avoiding misunderstandings. Again, a written document is preferable to just having an oral agreement. After all, the work most often disrupts your daily habits and lifestyle and you do not want it to drag indefinitely. Likewise, there should be a set time period in which contractor will mend any mistakes and imperfection that stem from the project you paid for.
Is there a dedicated team for my project?
Contractors tend to be quite busy and work on more than one project simultaneously. You as a customer want to be provided with consistency, so ask who will work on your project every day. Verify that there is a project manager, a person who oversees everything. It would be also nice to have business owner occasionally on the site as well. Finally, if there are subcontractors, check their qualifications, insurance, and liability.
Million dollar questions
Before you take the plunge, there are various questions you will need the answer for. Start the search well prepared, after doing your homework and getting your priorities straight. Never take just their word for it. Do as much research as you can yourself to stay on the safe side. Accept nothing less than peerless quality, open communication, and clear terms. Find the best contractor, move forward with confidence, and finish the project with flying colors.