Looking for the perfect contractor for your next home renovation job? Despite the number of companies out there, actually narrowing it down and finding a good fit can take quite a bit of time. Most of the time the journey begins with a Google or Yelp search, plus a Facebook Status to ask for recommendations from your trusted friends and family. Once you’ve got a list of contenders, what’s the next step?

We recommend compiling a list of questions to help you qualify your prospective contractors. Asking the right questions is key to help you stand a better chance of hiring the right partner.Take a look at some of the categories of questions that we recommend asking before hiring a contractor:

How long have they been in business?

Like many other services, when selecting a contractor for your home renovation project, it’s important to know how long they have been working in the industry. If the contractor hasn’t been in business for at least 3-7 years, they likely will come with a lower price tag, but it could cost you somewhere else down the line if certain aspects of the project get overlooked or missed. Try to shoot for a contractor with at least 7 years of experience in the home remodeling industry.

What kind of coverage will they have?

Home remodeling means heavy equipment, and multiple people working on your home with the potential for something happening. The last thing you want is liability for someone getting injured on the job without the proper coverage.
It’s key to check with your contractor prospects to see what types of insurance and coverage that they carry, such as:

  • General Liability
  • Workers Comp
  • Builders Risk

In addition, if they have all of these, ask your point of contact about any other coverage options they provide.

What will the permit and inspection process look like?

Permits and Inspections are an extremely important part of the planning and building process. Your contractors should always answer YES to the following questions:

  • Will you obtain any and all permits that are required?
  • Will you facilitate the required inspections?
  • Will someone from your team be on site to meet with the inspectors?

The contractors will be the ones that know the project inside and out and will be able to best assist any inspectors in the process of getting approvals for your project.

What is the timeline?

Communication is key, and having an open conversation about the timeline of the project is often a big area of frustration when a home remodel is underway. Before you even decide to go with your contractor, discuss with the initial timeline is going to be for the Design, Permit, and Construction phases of the project. In addition to getting their timeline, ask for the contractor to provide the schedule in writing. This will help you to ensure that progress is being made.

How will the payment schedule be structured?

Finally, another key aspect of the project is about the payment schedule. Having an open line of communication about the expectations of payments is important so both teams can plan ahead accordingly, and no stalls occur because of an issue. We recommend asking the following questions:

  • What is the payment schedule?
  • Do you require a deposit up front?
  • How are the remaining payments requested?

These will help you get the best understanding of the project as a whole, and set the right expectations ahead of time. With these key questions, you should be able to determine whether the contractor you’re speaking to is a good fit.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog, where we will cover staffing, cleanup and more during-construction questions!