Questions to ask before hiring a contractor

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Your contractor will make – or break – your home renovation project. Because of this, it is important to research the right contractor for your job. The following questions can help you ensure you’re working with a trustworthy, experienced professional and help minimize emotional – and financial – stress during the project.

  1. How long have you been in this business?

What you want to hear: Long enough to have at least 10 examples of work and references

Why you want to hear it: The more satisfied customers a contractor has, the more you can expect them to complete quality, on-budget renovations in your home.

  1. Can I see your certificate of insurance?

What you want to see: The contractor should carry both liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

Why you want to see it: A contractor saying they carry insurance is not the same as seeing the actual details of their policy. This can give you peace of mind that you won’t be responsible for the medical bills of an injured drywaller.

  1. Will you provide an itemized bid?

What you want to read: A line-by-line cost breakdown of the various elements of the job.

Why you want to read it: While many contractors prefer to provide a single, lump-sum quote, an itemized bid keeps you informed of the costs of various aspects of the project. Likewise, it helps you understand how costs will increase or decrease by changing flooring or adding an extra window.

  1. Can I meet the foreman who will be at my job site?

Who you want to meet: The job foreman who will be at your home every day.

Why you want to meet them: Most contractors spend their days managing construction sites or bidding new projects. Because of this, it’s important to meet with the person who will be at your home every day. Make sure to ask if they have worked on a job like yours before – and if their current project is running on time and on budget

  1. What is your average work day like?

What you want to hear: Specifics on what time they will begin and end, what the noise level will be, how many workers will be in your home, and whether or not you will need to be home

Why you want to hear it: In addition to financial stress, home renovations can seriously impact your daily routines. Understanding information such as when the work crew will start and end their day or how many workers you can expect in your home can help you avoid unpleasant surprises, such as a crew that begins hammering away at 6 am.

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