When planning a home remodeling project, hiring a contractor is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. A good contractor will keep the project on schedule, on budget, and provide great workmanship and service. Here are a few tips to help you decide on the best person for the job.
Personal experience speaks volumes, so ask around on your social media network or visit the pro desk at your local home improvement store. You’ll want to know which contractors were easy to work with, did quality work, follow code requirements, and are timely about paying their bills. You can also check for a list of local members in the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
You’re hiring someone for a job that’s located in your home, so it’s important to ask questions to help make your decision and help protect your property and your investment.
1. Are you licensed and insured?
In both Missouri and Kansas, the city or county regulates general contractor licenses. Your contractor should be able to provide proof of a license and liability insurance.
2. How long have you been a contractor here?
Working with an established, local contractor who has a reputation in the community to uphold is most likely going to be committed to providing you with top-notch service and workmanship.
3. How many permits have you pulled in this area?
This will tell you whether a contractor actually gets permits that are required, and whether or not they’ve actually completed work in your city or county.
4. Do you offer any guarantees?
Your contractor may offer warranties, and should agree to research relevant building or homeowner’s association codes, and obtain needed permits and inspections.
5. Will you provide an itemized bid?
An itemized bid lists the cost of every part of the project, such as demo, plumbing, electrical, painting, and sheetrock. It will prevent disputes and make it easier to compare bids.
6. Are there any aspects of my project that concern you?
With any remodeling project, there are unknowns that could come up and cause changes or additional work. Address them up front, and come up with a plan to deal with them.
7. Will you provide a fixed price bid instead of an estimate?
Make sure you know what you’ll be paying. If a contractor is concerned about unknowns in the project, request a fixed price bid and agree to address the rest with a change order.
8. How are change orders handled?
If you request a change, or unforeseen obstacles come up during the project, those can be addressed with a change order, which is a written bid for the additional work.
9. Will you provide me with a project timeline?
Your formal written agreement should include fixed start and end dates, as well as a schedule of the work that will be completed along the way.
10. How will we communicate during the project?
It’s important to know how your contractor will keep you updated on the project and request decisions from you, as well as how you can ask your questions.
11. Who will be on-site supervising my project?
Whether it’s the contractor or a job foreman, you should meet the person who will actually be working on your job each day so you can see how they work and make sure you get along.
12. What is your typical daily work schedule?
Especially for big projects that will disrupt your household, like an addition or kitchen remodel, set expectations for working hours.
13. How can I reach you after hours in case of an emergency?
You and your contractor should both exchange all phone numbers, so you can quickly reach each other in the event of an emergency on either side.
14. What will you do to protect my property?
Specifically, how will the contractor contain dust from demo and sanding? And, what’s the cleanup plan for all the debris that will be left?
These questions will help you cover the bases to make sure you hire the best contractor possible. Start with a phone interview, then meet your final candidates face-to-face, preferably at a current job site, and check their references.