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  • Writer's pictureMolly Reed

10 Must Ask Questions When Hiring a Contractor

Thinking about renovating your home? Woo hoo! It’s a big decision and can be really fun! It also can be stressful. There are a lot of moving pieces in a home reno and setting yourself up on the right foot is so important. One of the MOST crucial components of a smooth renovation process is having the right team in place. But how do you know who to choose? I highly recommend looking for recommendations from people you know and trust. Do a deep dive on their social media and websites to make sure their design, work, and business ethos align with what you’re looking for. When you have a short list created it’s time to start interviewing companies.

Here are ten important questions to ask a contractor before hiring them for a renovation.

1. Will you provide a full scope of the project along with an itemized budget prior to beginning the project?

- Knowing the timeline for the project prior to beginning is so important. You can be guaranteed that the timeline will change as the project moves along but a general outline is helpful. Knowing how much of an allowance you have for your materials along with the price of the labor for each item will help you stick to a budget.

2. Who will be responsible for sourcing, ordering, and receiving materials?

- If you are not going to be living in the home during the project the delivery piece is very important! You need to have a team who’s on top of all tracking and delivery dates. With material shortages and supply chain issues, sourcing products that are in stock can be essential to staying on track.

3. Will you provide me the contact information for a couple current or past clients so I can get in touch with them to ask about their experience?

- It’s possible that they won’t want to do this for client privacy reasons but I’m a strong believer that if they are doing a good job, their clients should be happy to sing their praises. Reviews and testimonials are key when selecting service providers. If they won’t give direct contact information ask for them to point you in the direction of their online reviews.

4. Do you provide written plans/architecture sketches?

- You don’t want to tour your finished project and realize that none of the outlets are where you wanted them to be. It will streamline the process if the entire design is communicated to all parties ahead of time. Every one should be on the same page throughout.

5. How will change orders be communicated?

- Your project will likely change throughout based on multiple factors. The important thing is that these changes are being communicated. My preference is to review all changes BEFORE they are executed. This will allow you do explore various options and solutions.

6. Can you provide a copy of your businesses license and proof of insurance?

- Having a valid license and insurance is a non negotiable. They should easily be able to provide these to you. If they can’t? Move on.

7. What’s your process for pulling permits?

- Permits aren’t always required but a lot of times for major remodels they are. Your contractor should both know how to pull the correct permits and be willing to do it for you.

8. Throughout the project, what will your communication style be? How often can I expect updates?

- Is there a project manager that will be the main point of contact? Is there a weekly check in call? Daily onsite meetings? Whatever works best for all parties will vary but again, ensuring that all parties know when and how to communicate is imperative.

9. Is there a warranty for your materials or services?

- Many contractors offer service warranty on their work- they vary in timeframe but sometimes can be for up to a year. If you get appliances or other specialty items, be sure to request a copy of the warranty from the contractor.

10. How will payment be handled?

- Does your contractor require a downpayment? Is it phased in payment? Are you able to pay for all at the end? Knowing the payment schedule is important so that you can budget for your project. If your contractor will allow you to be in charge of ordering materials (and you feel comfortable doing so), do it! Choose the right credit card to charge things to and rack up those points!

Have I scared you yet? I hope not! This is an exciting process but the more you can be prepared and have the right team in place, the better your experience will be. If you ask these ten questions when interviewing a contractor you will set yourself up on the right path towards a successful home renovation project.

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