How to Hire a Contractor: Questions to Ask
Building a home is complex process that requires skill and experience. And it’s not one that you do often…
So you have little room for error. Errors mean wasted time, additional costs, and court disputes (in worst case scenarios).
To reduce chances of things going wrong, you need to research your contractor.
You need to know what to look for when hiring a home builder.
This is something we’ll help you out with. Below, we’ll list 7 questions to ask any contractor before hiring them.
This will help you build a home that is sturdy, beautiful, and matches your vision!
(1) How Long Have You Been in the Business?
With home building, long-term experience matters.
Longer experiences means optimized work schedules. It means your contractor understands how to mobilize workers to finish projects on time…
It also means more experience dealing with obstacles of building homes.
Those include everything from late delivery of materials, to worker errors on the job.
Working Experience – Different from Business
Many contractors have been in the industry for a long time. But have only started their own business in recent years…
Having less experience running a business isn’t necessarily harmful. Instead, what you’re looking for is experience working on sites, and dealing with the logistics of construction.
You want someone who has skills to “manage” the process of building homes.
(2) Are You Licensed to Work Where I Live?
Check the contractor to see if they (and their business) are licensed where you are.
Licensing is important for getting a loan on your home. You will not get financing if your home isn’t built by a licensed professional…
Also, you must check that their licensing matches their skill. For example, a carpenter should have a licensing for carpentry. But not necessarily for roofing jobs…
You need to check for liability insurance, and worker compensations. Make sure you don’t foot the medical bill for accidents to workers on site.
Make sure that the contractor is insured in their line of work. This is similar to checking licensing, where they should be insured for liabilities in what they do.
(4) Who Will You Subcontract?
Your contractor most likely has a team. And you must research his team too.
One way to achieve this is to ask previous clients of the contractor.
If possible, get the opinion of past clients on the team’s work quality. Ask for defects spotted (if any), and how the team handled them.
Your subcontractors are as important as your main contractor. They most likely will manage details that if gone wrong, may be costly to fix in the future.
(5) Ask for Opinions on Your Budget.
This is to check whether your contractor charges too much or not.
This process requires you to refer back to past home building clients. Look for people with homes similar to what you want to build…
Ask them about their budget. Ask them if they’ve had any financial issues with the contractors they’ve hired.
This will help you shop for someone who can work with your budget, while not compromising on quality.
(6) Ask for a Work Timeline.
Check to see the start and finish dates of your contractor’s work. You want to make sure that their timeline is realistic…
Ensure that it isn’t too small, as this leads to rushed work. And ensure that it isn’t too long, where the contractor may charge more as a result.
Also, ask whether you contractor has any projects they’re currently working. If they currently are handling projects, then it’s best to look for someone with a less busy schedule.
If possible, ask how long it takes to finish certain parts of your home.
(7) Ask About Changes in Order and Pricing.
It is inevitable that along the way, you might want changes in your project.
Ask your contractor the process of handling changes. Ask about pricing changes, and how they’re calculated.
An experienced contractor will give you a comprehensive answer on how changes are dealt. The answer will usually be written in a manner that allows it to be included in a contract.
Consider Hiring an Inspector.
You can always hire someone to check that your contractor is working up to standard.
After all, you may be too busy or inexperienced to account for your contractor alone. There are experts out there will take that job off your hands.
Finally, make sure you draft a comprehensive contract before starting the job. This will save you a lot of trouble after the project is over!