Thinking of beginning a home renovation project this year? If you’re like many people, you may be deciding whether to do the work yourself or hire a professional. Here are the top 8 questions to ask general contractors before hiring them.
1. How long have you been in business?
How long a contractor has been in busy can help you determine whether you want to work with him or her. Don’t rule out newbies, however. An up and coming contractor may have raving reviews (don’t forget to check them online) and can offer competitive pricing in order to gain your business.
2. Have you worked on projects similar to mine?
Make sure that the contractor that you have in mind has worked on projects similar to the project at hand. You wouldn’t want your home project to be someone’s guinea pig project. Get a few pictures of completed jobs that are similar to what you want your contractor to do. The proof is in the pictures!
3. Do you have a reference list that you can share with me?
Having a list of past clients that your potential contractor has worked with will also help validate his or her work. Be sure to contact at least three of the references or past clients with jobs similar to yours and ask if they would recommend this contractor.
4. Does your company carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
With any home project, you want to make sure that you’re covered in every way possible. When asking this question, don’t just take your contractor’s word for it—ask to see a copy or proof of his or her insurance. Be sure to read it to determine if it suits your needs and will cover you should anything happen during your project.
5. Are you bonded?
In addition to being insured, you will want to make sure your contractor is bonded as well. What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, when a contractor is bonded it means he or she has purchased a surety bond. This is a type of insurance policy that protects a property owner. The bond provides a certain amount of liability protection and if the contractor fails to complete a job as required or contracted, the bond can provide compensation to a property owner.
6. Who will supervise the project on-site?
The owner of the company or the first person you speak to regarding your project may not be on site to supervise the job. Be sure you know the contact information and even go so far as to meet with the person who will be supervising your project so that you can get a feel for who will be in your home and getting the job done.
7. Who will be my point of contact for job progress, changes or other issues?
Next, find out who will be your main point of contact for anything that happens during the project. Perhaps your contractor has a customer service team that can help or it could be the contractor. It’s your job to find out who will be managing the project and who can help if a problem arises.
8. What work will your employees do?
Sometimes a contractor will put on a one-man show and will do the job solo. Other times, the contractor will use his or her employees to perform the work involved in completing your project. Find out how many laborers are required to do your job and what exactly each employee will do.
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The Sherri Patterson Team specializes in residential real estate and relocation, with a combined 50+ years of experience serving the Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties. We work directly with hospitals, physicians and medical professionals. Whether you're looking to buy, sell or relocate to the Greater Sacramento area, we are the premier real estate team of choice. Our office is located at Keller Williams in Folsom, CA.