Ask your contractor for a copy of their license or certification. Contact its issuing authority to confirm whether it is in good standing or not.
There are a few specific answers you would prefer to hear in response to this question. The contractor must have general liability insurance. This will cover an accident during the project or construction. An example scenario would be where they hit a water line that floods your house. You want to know that they’ll be the ones to take responsibility for the costs of the damage. Second, the contractor should also carry workers’ compensation insurance. This will protect you from liability if someone got hurt while working on your property.
Make sure your contractor knows your local building code and permitting process. It’s important to find a contractor who is credible and has recently worked within your area.
It’s best to find a contractor that has worked before in your area. You wouldn’t want to hire a contractor who is new and unfamiliar with the regulations of your town.
Talk to former clients who have hired the general contractor you’re considering. Ask them about the process, as well as the final product. Discuss budgeting, timeliness, and professionalism.
Contact some former clients who have hired the general contractor you’re considering. Ask them about the process, budgeting, timeliness, and, of course, the final product.
Finally, ask them “Would you hire this contractor again?”.
You need to know when the contractor will begin and end the project. This is especially important if you have an ideal deadline. Ask about any circumstances that may push back your deadline. Ask how many projects they’re currently handling. Also, make sure the timeline is realistic.
General contractors often need to subcontract work out. Check references for every person they will hire, know their names, and what type of work they do. Verify their credentials. Make sure that they also have the necessary insurance requirements. Also, establish how communications will work with you. Will everything go through the general contractor or will they be coming to you? Subcontractors should also have insurance. All subcontractors should have at least a $500,000 insurance policy.
All credible contractors will guarantee their work. They will have a written warranty agreement. This should disclose what is in the warranty, what is not, and for how long. A one-year warranty is good, but two years would be better. The electrician may only guarantee materials if he or she buys them from their accounts. A separate warranty will come from the manufacturer of the equipment that they install.
Don’t pay the entire price upfront, even if they offer a discount for doing so. Discuss the budget and payment terms before the work begins. It should include payment amounts, due dates, and key deliverables.
Permits and inspection requirements vary depending on the location. This may include county, city, or even HOA approvals. A reputable contractor should know the required permits for your project.
A lien waiver is a legal document that confirms you have paid the contractor for all the work in the project. It waives the signer’s right to file a lien on your property. It is the construction industry’s version of a receipt.
Make sure you have three bids for this one. That way you can see if one of your contractors is overbidding or underbidding. You don’t want unpleasant surprises like inferior materials or shortcuts taken. You also don’t want to overpay. Also, check if there are other things not covered in the cost such as clean-up and other incidental work.
For an hourly rate project, make sure you get a range of how long the job will take.
At least four or five years is a good answer to this question. Be wary of new companies. Let other people try them out first.
By asking this upfront, there is a better chance that it will get done.
Find out how long it will be between installation completion and when you can walk on the floor. You might need to stay somewhere else until installation is complete.
You also want to know how to maintain the floor to protect this investment.
For example, there are a lot of different types of electrical work. You want an electrician who is a specialist in what you need to be done, such as residential rather than commercial. Other industries have certifications for contractors.
Most contractors who deal with emergencies, such as plumbing companies, have a higher rate for evenings and weekends.
Your contractor will probably already be able to sell you certain brands. Often, this helps because it narrows down the choices. Within the lines the contractor represents, there are some things to keep in mind. For example, furnaces or AC units have these to consider:
This gives you an idea of what to expect and tells you that the contractor knows how to get started and how to get the job done.
They should bring a bin for collecting all materials that are to be disposed of. Also, ask where they plan to park the bin. Trapping your car inside your garage would be a bad thing.
Roofers cannot work during a lightning storm, for obvious reasons, but you want to know if there are temperature and other weather restrictions. You don’t want to have them remove the roof and not be able to replace it until a storm passes. Windows and doors, also, may need to be replaced at a time if bad weather threatens so the house isn’t completely open to wind or rain.