Finding the right contractor for your home improvement project can be challenging, despite the vast
amount of information available online. Whether you’re looking to install a new pool in your
Huntington Beach home or replace the roof of your cabin in Centerville, VA, its essential to find a
qualified contractor who can get the job done right the first time. To help you make the right choice,
here are seven crucial questions to ask potential contractors before hiring them.
1. How long have you been working in the industry, and when was your company founded?
It’s important to get a sense of the experience level of both the company owner or job
foreman and the company as a whole. While a newly established company may have
experienced staff, it’s best to exercise caution and consider starting with a smaller project.
You can also ask for references to confirm the quality of their work.
2. Can I see your certificate of insurance?
A reputable contractor will have documentation on hand, such as general liability and
workers compensation, if required by your state. These documents can be difficult to verify
online, so it’s crucial to ask for them before hiring a contractor.
3. Who is my primary point of contact during the job, and how should I contact them?
It’s essential to know who to contact with any questions or concerns during the project.
Typically, this is a project manager or job foreman, and sometimes it's the company owner.
Ask how they prefer to be contacted and how quickly you should expect a reply.
4. Will you do all the necessary work to ensure the completed project meets local codes?
Your contractor should take responsibility for obtaining the necessary permits and
scheduling inspections. Work that isn’t correctly permitted or inspected can cause
significant problems down the road, especially if you decide to sell your home.
5. Who will be doing the work?
It’s essential to clarify whether the contractor uses subcontractors or company employees
and whether you can expect to see the same people working on your project every day. If
subcontractors are involved, make sure they hold valid general liability and workers'
compensation insurance, as well as the necessary licenses for the work they perform.
6. How will you ensure my home and yard won’t be damaged? Your contractor should be proactive about taking steps to keep your property damage-free, such as using shoe covers, plastic sheeting to control dust levels, or protective materials to cover flooring and landscaping.
7. How will we handle payment?
It’s important to know the total cost of the project, the payment types accepted, and the
intervals at which payments will be due. Clarify how any changes to the job cost or budget
will be handled and how additional expenses will be communicated. By asking these questions, you can ensure that you’re hiring a qualified professional who is the right fit for your project. Don't be swayed by a low price if the contractor isn’t licensed or expects you to handle permit applications. By being proactive and asking these vital questions, you’ll have peace of mind and increase the chances of a successful home improvement project.