When it comes time to build, it is important to ensure that you have the right team for the job. Hiring a contractor may sound easy enough to do, but realistically, this is a choice that requires research, time and careful thought. Here are some questions to ask a contractor—and yourself—before selecting the right person for your next big project.
- Is the contractor quick to respond? When you reach out to a contractor, leave a detailed message including your name, phone number, email address and even a short description of the project you are looking to hire for. Give them 48 hours to respond. Be sure to check voicemail and email. If they do not reach out within this timeframe, they may be too busy with other projects to take on yours
- Are they accommodating? From the first meeting, you will be able to get a general idea of whether or not a contractor is right for you. Were they on time for your first meeting? Do you feel like they are rushing through the planning process? Are they open to hearing and sharing opinions and ideas? Ensure that the contractor you hire will put in the work, time and energy that your project deserves.
- Do they have positive reviews? With online reviews, it is easier than ever to get an idea of how a business operates, from customer service to quality of work. Before you make the jump to hiring a contractor, check out reviews from others who have worked with them before. If you find complaints, such as a bad attitude or laziness, you may decide to go in a different direction.
- Are they licensed? In order for a contractor to do the job correctly and up to code, it is vital that they are licensed. Of course, there are some people out there who choose to do the work themselves or have a friend or family member help out, but to perform electrical and plumbing work, a professional may be required. Never hire a professional, or a team, without confirming that they hold a license.
- Are they insured? In addition to Worker’s Compensation, protection for laborers who are injured on the job, be sure the contractor you hire has insurance to cover any accidental damage to your property. Discuss making you a certificate holder on the policy in case their insurance expires, you will be notified and hold off work until they renew it.
- How large is their team? It is important to know who will be working on your property and how many people there will be. Whether for insurance purposes or peace of mind, this is an important question to ask.
- Will they be available for weekly meetings? In case of questions or concerns, talk to your contractor about setting up a recurring meeting. Anything can happen, from hitting a pipe to a necessary layout change, so it is vital to keep the lines of communication open and for both parties to be available.
- What are the payment terms? For large projects, it is extremely important to have a contract. Not only does this detail the project, including a general timeline and overall cost, but also a payment structure. This keeps both parties responsible and ensures that the property owner is able to make payments and the contractor is getting paid.
- What is the project time frame and can you get it in writing? Timelines of large projects can be tough. Once your contractor determines a timeline, give them a one-week grace period. Be sure to get their finish date and timeline details in writing, as this can easily go astray.
- Will they come back for repairs and service? Contractors are human, which means there can be things that are missed. From light switch plates to a loose towel rack, even the smallest mistakes can be fixed. Just be sure—and get it in writing—that the contractor you hire will come back to repair or service anything that may have been missed or gone wrong. You want someone who will ensure the project is completed, and completed well.
Source: Architectural Digest