Interviewing a Contractor

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There are certain things to look for while interviewing contractors, besides the obvious referrals, website, qualifications and quality of work. I’ve listed a set of questions below that you should ask yourself after your initial walk-through.

  • Are they on time? If they are not, did they call or email you beforehand and let you know why they will be late and when they will arrive? There are things that come up; we do deal with emergencies, but the potential client should be aware. No one likes to wait, and I for one HATE being late. I will always communicate with the client if I am late for any reason. 

  • Did they bring a Ipad/pad of paper; are they taking notes?

  • Are they taking photos? Did they ask you first if they could take photos?

  • Are they taking measurements? I hear this over and over again that contractors don’t take measurements. How can you price out materials and labor accurately if you don’t gather measurements?… beats me. I even confirm measurements from architect or designer plans, just to make sure that we are all operating from and ordering materials off of the same page of measurements.

  • Are they asking you relevant questions? (Examples: Do you have your materials selected? Do you have a start date in mind? Have you ever renovated your home before? Will you be living here through the renovation?)

  • Did they leave a business card for questions you may think of afterwards?

What YOU should be asking your potential contractor during a walk through:

  • Do you have insurance?

  • What is your lead time for this type of job?

  • How long do you anticipate this project to take?

  • Will I be assigned a specific project manager?  How often will the project manager be checking on the job? How many projects will this person have in addition to mine?

  • How do you find and vet your subs?

  • Do you have experience with this type of renovation?

  • What are your thoughts on these materials?

  • What if I want to increase the scope of the project later?  What is your process for that?