Hiring a contractor is a HUGE deal…
The risk is more than most people realize, you are giving someone permission to demolish + rebuild your home over several months or maybe even years. The rooms or areas you choose to remodel will be out of commission while your contractors work on the remodel. Long story short, you are placing a LOT of trust in your contractor and there are some really important things to consider to ensure you hire the right contractor.
Questions to Ask to Hire the Right Contractor
Is the contractor licensed and insured?
There are a ton of contractors out there. Many, you can find on Google or through ads. However, not all of them are insured or even licensed. You may get a cheaper rate from an uninsured and unlicensed contractor, but the payoff may not be worth it.
If anything goes wrong, the responsibility is not on the contractor, but rather on you, the homeowner. That is a massive liability that is honestly not worth it in the long run. It is so much better to pay upfront for a licensed + insured contractor. When looking at potential contractors, make sure you ask about their qualifications + certifications.
What other projects are they working on along with yours?
When you are trying to hire the right contractor, you likely have a timeline in mind of when you’d like your project done.
One thing to consider when looking to hire your contractor is the amount of other projects they be doing in addition to yours – as well as understanding how big is their team and their capacity. If they are too busy finishing other projects, yours may likely be pushed off. This is a common issue in construction, so I recommend asking this question prior to hiring.
What is the general contractor’s role in the project?
Every construction company operates differently, so ask direct questions on what your general contractor will be doing for your project. They may be involved in the day-to-day process, or they may be more removed and manage from afar. You may be looking for someone very hands-on. Typically full-service contractors will have a higher fee. Decide how much you want to pay vs. the service you will be receiving. Asking this upfront will help you hire the right contractor and eliminate headache down the road.
What does the daily site management look like?
If your general contractor isn’t on-site daily, ask what site management is included and set your expectations accordingly. You want to make sure you can trust the team you are hiring to complete daily tasks to finish your project on time.
Which vendors and subcontractors do you work with?
Another component to inquire about is to help understand what vendors/subcontractors your contractor typically works with. If you can get a any vendor information, you can reach out to them and see how they like working with your contractor. This will give you a bit of an insider’s perspective on what to expect. Plus, it’s nice to see who else you’d be working with!
What is their typical timeline and budget per square foot?
If your contractor is telling you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are hiring a credible contractor, they should know what the budget + timeline will be for a project like yours.
While it’s true the final price may change by the end, I recommend getting an estimate up front. That way you’ll be deciding exactly how much you’re adding to that number.
What is their communication style like?
It’s better to establish communication standards prior to hiring your contractor. Ask them what their communication looks like with their client during projects. A day-of response that says they’ll look into answering your question is better than no response at all. Ask these questions, and set up your communication expectations up front.
Check out the before and after of the bathroom in my latest project, Humboldt Street.