You don’t have to be a long-time homeowner to know that home renovations and other improvements don’t come cheap. If you need to hire a professional contractor for a job, you’re going to have to pay quite a bit for their expertise. All too often, homeowners are eager to save money and end up making the mistake of hiring the contractor who quotes the lowest price without asking many questions. Unfortunately, these homeowners often end up regretting that decision. If they had asked more questions up front, they may have been spared a lot of frustration.
Depending on the size of the job, you might have spent years saving up the money you need to pay for it. When you’re finally able to have the improvement made, don’t make the mistake of hiring the wrong contractor. Before you hire someone to do a job, be sure to talk to a few different contractors first and never be afraid to ask lots of questions. A good contractor will understand how important this project is to you and won’t be bothered at all by answering them. Here are just a few of the most important ones you should always ask before signing on the dotted line.
Are You Licensed and Insured?
Out of all the things you could ask, this is definitely one of the most important. Hiring an unlicensed contractor might save you a little money upfront, but it can cost you a lot more in the long run if they don’t do the job correctly. A good contractor should also have the proper insurance to cover the costs if one of his subcontractors is injured on the job or if there’s an accident that damages your home. And, of course, don’t forget to ask to see proof that they’re licensed and insured. You may even want to do a little research yourself to make sure they really are licensed.
How Long Have You Been Doing Business Locally?
The longer a business has been doing business in a certain area, the more likely it is they’ll have a good reputation they’ll be dedicated to upholding. They’ll also have had plenty of time to build good relationships with local material suppliers and people they hire as sub-contractors. A contractor who works locally will also be familiar with all the local building codes.
Will You Be On Site During the Job?
In many cases, when you hire a contractor, the person you talk to might not necessarily be the person who will actually be doing the work on your house. The person you talk to will at least be in charge of overseeing the people who actually do the labor on your job. If the contractor you talk to has a lot of other jobs going on at the same time, they might not be able to spend all of their time at your house. At the very least, they should be able to come by and check on the progress at least once a day. If they can’t be there themselves, ask who will be there.
Are Permits Required and Will You Pull Them?
Not all home improvement jobs require building permits. But if they’re needed for your project, they can be pulled by either you or the contractor. A good, trustworthy contractor should gladly offer to pull the permits for you. When a contractor tries to get permits, they must be able to show proof of being licensed and insured. Homeowners don’t need to be licensed or insured to get permits to work on their own home. If a contractor tries to pressure you into getting the permits for them, it might be a sign that they aren’t actually licensed or insured.
When Will You Be Able to Start Working and How Long Will it Take?
Good contractors are often very busy and might not be able to start on your job right away. If you need to have a project completed by a certain date, a contractor’s schedule might not be a good fit for you. While there are many reasons why a job might end up taking a little longer than expected, but a reliable contractor should give you a pretty clear timeline of how long they expect the project to take.
Could You Give Me An Itemized Bid?
When many people talk to contractors about getting an estimate, they typically mostly want to be quoted an exact price. But it’s very smart to ask for an itemized list of everything that’s included in that price. If a contractor gives you a quote that’s a bit less than another contractor’s, there’s a good chance that the lower price doesn’t include some aspect of the job, like trash removal. By asking for this, you can avoid some unwelcome surprises later on.