26 Aug 5 Questions To Ask Contractors Before Hiring One For Your Remodeling Project
When it comes to a remodeling project, it is the contractor you pick that can make it or break it. Finding the perfect contractor for your remodeling job will determine the overall quality and timeliness of the completed project. It can also reduce the amount of financial and emotional stress you will have to deal with.
To make sure you’re getting quality craftsmanship from a contractor, you should ask these five questions to your contractor candidates. It is important to pay attention to how they answer your questions as communication issues early on is not a good sign.
1. Can You Itemize Your Bid?
A great deal of contractors will give you a bottom-line price for your entire project, but this puts you in a position where you do not know what they are charging for each part of the job. For example, if the original plan calls for something that you later decide not to have done, how much should you be credited? With a unitemized price, you have no way to know.
If you are able get an itemized bid, it should show the individual costs for all of the various elements of the remodeling project, including:
- Demolition and hauling away trash
- Framing work and finish carpentry
- Plumbing work
- Electrical work
- Heating and air conditioning
- Flooring installations
- Drywall, finishing,l and painting
A itemized bid makes it easier to compare different contractors’ prices and possibly negotiate a better price. Also, if you later need to cut project costs, you can easily figure what items to cut to accomplish your buget cuts. Plus, having an itemized bid becomes documentation regarding the scope of your remodeling project and may be used eliminate disputes. If a contractor is reluctant about itemizing a bid, it may be a red flag.
2. Is Your Bid A Fixed Price or an Estimate?
Some contractors might treat their initial bids as estimates. This could mean that the final bill could end up being higher than you expected. Top avoid this, request a fixed price bid. If the contractor says that it is not possible because of so many unknowns about the remodeling project, try to eliminate or reduce the unknown factors. For example, have the contractor examine a crawl space or open a wall.
If the projects unknowns can’t be resolved, have the specs describe only what is expected to be done. If additional work might be needed, you can always do a change order, which is a written mini-bid for any new or unexpected work.
3. How Long Have You Been In Business in This Area?
If the contractor has been doing business in the area for five to 10 years, they likely have a network of suppliers and subcontractors and a local reputation to maintain. These factors make a contractor a safer bet than one who is either not local or one that is new to the business.
You should ask for:
- A business card with a local address and not a P.O. box.
- References from one or two of his first clients. This’ll help verify how long they have been doing business.
4. Who Are Your Suppliers?
Contractors network with their suppliers. You can usually gain insightful information on your contractor’s reliability and quality of craftsmanship by talking to:
- Lumber yards
- The professional information desk at your favorite local home improvement center
- Tile shops
- Kitchen and bathroom showrooms
Your contractor should have no problems telling you about where he purchases his materials if he’s a reputable and upstanding customer.
5. Can I Meet The Job Foreman/Project Manager And See A Project He Or She Is Currently Working On?
A large portion of contractors do not actually swing hammers. Most of their days are spent bidding new projects and managing various jobs and workers. This makes the job foreman/ project manager, the one who will be working at your jobsite every day, the most important member of your remodeling team besides yourself.
It is best to meet the foreman in person before you commit to the contractor to see if his current job is running smoothly and if it is a good fit. Sometimes personalities conflict and that could be troublesome.When you ask to meet the foreman, it gives the contractor an incentive to assign your remodeling project one of the better crews, as you will be more likely to hire them if you see his A-Team.
If the contractor says they will be running the job personally, ask whether they will be there every day. They will most likely want to give you a positive response which will be something you can hold them to later on.