What to Ask a Remodeling Contractor Before Hiring
You walk into your kitchen to use your built-in microwave when you notice the #1 button is not working. As you manually punch in the time you want, you start to take in the rest of your kitchen. Floor tile that looks dirty despite being recently mopped, stained countertops that look long past their prime and many other unpleasantries that are screaming remodeling contractor.
“Maybe it’s time I finally get this kitchen redone,” you think, “I certainly have the budget for it.” But as you set out to search for a contractor you realize something…you don’t know the first question you should ask them.
If your house is in need of a remodeling contractor and you’re unsure what to ask, you’re in luck! Below we’re going to go through the questions you should ask before hiring a remodeling contractor.
If they’ve been in the industry longer than they owned a business, consider them for smaller projects first.
1. How Long Have You Been in Business?
This is an easy question to start off with. What you’re looking for is a remodeling contractor who’s been in business long enough to have worked through any kinks new start-ups typically go through. They’ll have all their processes down and know how to handle many situations that have come up.
“What if the business has not been open long, but the contractor has been in the industry a while?” If the contractor you’re considering has worked for someone else before they open their own business, consider them for a smaller project. Once they have shown that they can handle that and you’re pleased with the results, you can then hire them for bigger projects like a complete kitchen remodel.
2. What Local and National Organizations Do You Belong To?
There are several organizations a contractor can belong to, such as:
- Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)
- Texas Association of Builders (TAB)
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
- the GHBA Remodelers Council
While a contractor doesn’t need to belong to each organization on this list, it’s a good idea to belong to some of these as they can be a great help to them and their clients.
3. What Type of Insurance Do You Have and May I See Proof?
Any contractor who’s going to do a remodeling job (or any job, for that matter) should have both general liability insurance. Like with the required licenses, never assume your remodeling contractor has insurance, nor should you just believe your contractor if they say they do. So ask to see their orginial insurance certificate so you’ll know for sure they have insurance. You can also ask to be named as an “additional insured” party once you’ve hired a contractor to ensure protection.
A contractor has more experience dealing with permits so they should be the one to handle them.
4. What About Permits and the Proper Inspections?
Do your remodeling plans change the structure of your home? If so, your contractor should know what permits and inspections you’ll need and offer to handle all of that for you. They’re the perfect choice to handle this since they’ll know the intimate details of your remodel and how exactly it will be handled.
5. Do You Know How Long My Remodel Will Take?
By now your contractor should know how long your project will take. They’ll also know of any elements that could affect this, like other jobs they have to complete and bids they’re currently working on. Be sure to also ask about other projects they may be working on and how they’ll address changes to the timeline should any arise.
6. How Will We Handle Payment?
A reputable contractor would never ask you to pay for the whole remodel up front, so if the contractor you’re considering asks you to, don’t hire them. Be sure to talk out what the payment terms will be and then put those in writing. It’s always better to hammer these details out before you hire them so there are no surprises later.
7. Will I Have a Dedicated Team?
When you have a large remodel project done on your home it’s important that you have the same team each day. You don’t want a remodeling job that looks like several different styles went into it, you want one that’s a single cohesive style. So be sure to ask which people will be coming to your home each day and how many other projects they have to complete at the same time. You should also ask these follow-up questions:
- Who is the project manager, and what specifically will he oversee each day?
- Do you work with subcontractors? If so, what have you done to properly qualify them, and are they covered by your liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
- How often will the business owner check in on the progress of the project?
Find out how your contractor likes to be contacted so your questions can be answered.
8. How Can I Reach You?
It’s important that you not only know who you should contact but how they like to be contacted. By phone? Text? Email? The person you’ll be contacting is most likely going to be the business owner or project manager, so get their information. Find out how they want to be contacted and how long it takes for them to respond. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have an urgent question that can’t be answered right away because you didn’t know how to contact them.
This also gives you peace of mind because instead of worrying when they’ll answer your questions, you know about when they should answer it
9. What is a Typical Day Like?
It’s important that you know what their day is going to be like once they start work on your home. What time do they plan to start and finish? Will you need to move anything in the area they’re going to work in? What about the noise level? Would you need to be there for part of the day or is okay for you to run errands or go to work?
You should also let your contractor and crew know some information about your home before they start. What bathrooms can they use? What will the parking situation be like? Where are the power outlets? Will anyone, pets included, be home? Have this information at the ready so your potential contractor plan according if you hire them.
10. How Will you Clean Up? What About Tool Storage?
It doesn’t matter if your remodel takes a few days or several weeks, you should always know exactly how the cleanup process will go. A reputable contractor will be more than willing to talk about this and discuss different things you want wiped clean at the end of the day. They should also talk about tool storage options so they don’t end up lugging heavy equipment across your floors or expensive carpeting.
If you have cleaning issues you want them to know about, now is the time to air them. Discuss everything relating to cleaning now so you don’t have any messy problems later.
11. How Will They Protect Your Property?
In addition to cleaning and tool storage, you’ll want to know how your remodeling contractor intends to protect your property. While this question seems tough, a great contractor is willing to answer and talk about how they intend to keep everything clean and intact. You should also ask about tarps and what shoe coverings crew members might wear, as well as whether they plan to lock up if they need to leave during the day.
Make sure to put in the contract that your contractor can’t go over your budget.
12. How Will Extra Charges be Handled? What About Disagreements?
One of the most important things you’ll need to ask about is extra charges. While contractors are able to be more accurate in their pricing than ever before, little things can come up that might require additional money. So ask how this will be handled and make sure that they won’t go over your agreed amount. Once you hire them, make sure to put in the contract that they can’t go over your budget.
Also, the entire scope of work, or job specifications, should be listed in your contract, as well as payment schedule, change order information, allowances and how disputes will be settled. The Texas Association of Builders provides all members with various contract types, as well as the exhibits necessary for all remodeling jobs, no matter how large or small, that have been reviewed by the TAB attorneys. A good contractor will offer to let you peruse a sample contract so you can get a feel for what could be in the contract you have with them.
13. Is There a Warranty For Their Services and Materials?
A good contractor will be willing to offer a warranty for their services and you should find out what it covers before the work starts. You don’t want to be a situation where something unexpected happens and you find out later the warranty won’t cover it. Also, ask for copies of the warranties for any of the materials they plan to use so you can have those on hand if you need them.
Hire Premier as Your Remodeling Contractor Today!
Premier Remodeling is a full-service Houston remodeling company specializing in many different types of home renovations. We pride ourselves on the quality of our craftsmanship and the integrity and expertise of our team. If you’re looking for a reliable remodeling contractor, call us at 713-532-1100 or click below to schedule an on-site visit to discuss your options.