Remodeling your house is such an exciting time, but it is also proved to be one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. It is overwhelming learning about the products available, the reliability of contractors, and total investment. Despite your previous experiences, I am here to tell you that remodeling can be fun and you can find a contractor you love. I’ve done the research and created a list of the 25 questions you should ask your contractor BEFORE you hire them.
The key to finding a trustworthy, skilled contractor is asking the right questions and not just looking for the cheapest cost. My husband runs a family window and door replacement company which they pride themselves on the integrity of their company and the quality of work they will provide for you.
So fear not there are companies out there that have their ducks in a row and put customer satisfaction first. You just have to spend the time looking for them. When you first start talking about a project is when you should start your research. This allows a flexible timeline to make an educated decision.
Where to Start:
Research your project
Education is key!! I am not saying become an expert and do it yourself, but take some time to see what is on the market and what similar projects have been completed. It’s fun to get ideas for your project as well as find what you do or don’t like. When we started our floor remodel I did some research and found vinyl planks were a highly recommended product and cheaper than tile. It opened me up to the idea of vinyl and I’m so glad because we have beautiful floors for half the cost of similar tile floors!
Compare companies online
Apps like Yelp, NextDoor, Houzz, and Home Advisor make it so easy to find quality contractors in your area. What is great about these apps/websites is they allow the user to leave honest reviews of their experience with the contractor. Here you can learn about what they do, the quality of work they provide, and the satisfaction level of their customers. I advise to narrow down your search to companies with at least a four stars average rating. A company with anything lower has had a mix of reviews and your investment isn’t worth the risk.
Schedule at least three estimates
You should ask first if they give free estimates or if the consultation cost will go towards your contract with them. Also, give them as much detail as possible prior to meeting. Giving them insight into your project allows them to learn more about the work involved and save you from wasting time if it is not a service they provide.
As rule of thumb, you should always schedule three estimates. By comparing 3 or more contractors, you will be able to see what the average price is around town as well as the scope of products available for your needs.
Please remember when scheduling with contractors they sometimes aren’t able to come out the same day or week. Just because they book out doesn’t mean you should not consider them. It is a good sign that they are busy and others are interested in their services.
Once you have scheduled some estimates, it is time to meet with the contractors and discuss the project in detail. My husband runs estimates for a living, and they sometimes can last as long as two or three hours depending on the circumstances. He never minds spending the time because it is crucial for the customer to feel confident in their work. The only way to prevent buyer’s remorse is to make your customers as educated as possible. You have every right to know who will be in your home and exactly the work they will be doing.
25 Questions to Ask your Contractor:
- Are you a licensed contractor in your state?
- How many employees do you have?
- Do you have workers comp insurance?
- How long have you been in their industry?
- Do you subcontract any of your work to other companies?
- If so, do you require all of your subcontractors to carry insurance, workers comp, and licenses?
(Let me pause for a second- if the contractor answers ‘no’ to 1-5, run as far away as possible. Seriously, end the appointment right then and there. You do not want an unlicensed and uninsured person working in your home. If they hurt themselves in your home on the job YOU will be sued and held financially liable for all medical/damages)
- Where is the first place you will start with the remodel? (It is okay to ask for details, take notes and see how the different contractors vary)
- How many days will it take to complete the project?
- How many crew workers will be working on the project at a time?
- What are the hours and days you will be working?
- Do you have any before and after pictures of similar jobs you have completed in the past?
- How long does it take for you to receive the material needed to start the job?
- How long have you worked with the manufacturer(s) and their product(s)?
- Is there a warranty on the material/products?
- Does the warranty come from the manufacturer or your contracting company?
- What will I need to do to “activate” the warranty of the products/appliances?
- How long does the warranty last?
- Are there any restrictions on the warranty?
- If I use you, what is the procedure for moving forward?
- Do I pay a deposit?
- Do I pay for material as needed?
- Or do I pay when the job is completed?
(It is important to learn the contracting payment laws in your state. For us in California, we are not allowed to collect more than 10% of the project as a deposit. The payment is then completed once the services were rendered.)
- If you saw a negative review or have a concern, ask them about it. Allow them the opportunity to explain their side because sometimes it may not be as the reviewer made it seem!
- Do you pay your crew by the hour or by the project?
- Lastly, why should I choose you?
You can’t be afraid to ask questions!! And honestly, if the contractor can’t answer them, then you just saved yourself a headache! Spend the little time needed to do the extra work, it will make your life so much easier in the end.
These questions are universal and can be used for: flooring companies, general contractors, retrofit window replacement, painters, kitchen/bath remodel companies, landscaping, stucco & drywall, solar, insulation, roofing companies, pool contractors, and so many more!
I would love to hear what questions you have asked a contractor and how it helped you make your decision! Also, what is your most trusted source for reviews? Leave a comment below!
Are you lacking ideas? Make sure to create a free Houzz account where you can purchase appliances and decorations, connect with contractors in your area, and come up with ideas!
Thanks for reading,