The decision to remodel your house is a pretty big one. However, the decision that follows later might be the most crucial one. Before you begin remodeling, you need to hire the right remodeling contractor.
Your remodeling contractor can make or break your home. This is why there are some questions you should ask your remodeling contractor. These questions will help you assess whether or not a contractor is a right fit for your project.
1. How Old is Their Business?
As a homeowner, you do not want to take any risks. An experienced remodeling contractor is crucial for any remodeling project.
An experienced contractor has the bandwidth to support a high-volume of projects, unforeseen circumstances, and other crucial aspects of the remodeling project. Not only will they have ample experience dealing with the technical aspects but they’ll also be well-versed with local laws, labor-management, and similar factors.
2. What Type of Contract Do They Use?
There are two types of contracts: fixed and cost-plus. It’s crucial that you understand the nature of the contract before you sign it or select the contractor. What do these terms mean anyway?
A fixed contract is what the name says. You decide on a fixed quote based on the mutual agreement between you and the contractor. Regardless of the circumstances, you are liable to pay the agreed-upon amount.
For instance, if some additional structural repairs are discovered during the remodel, or the remodeling is taking longer than anticipated, you are not liable to pay any additional amount. The same, however, does not apply to a ‘cost-plus contract.’
A cost-plus contract covers direct expenditure (labor, etc) and indirect or overhead costs (like insurance, office rent, etc.). As a homeowner, this type of contract brings forth a lot of uncertainty regarding the budget. It allows contractors to inflate costs and spend more than their initial estimate.
3. How Long Will the Remodeling Project Take?
Time is an important element for any remodeling project, big or small. Whether you are remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or the entire house, you need to be aware of the estimated timeline.
It’s for this reason that you should ask your contractor for an estimate. That being said, many contractors might claim that it’s impossible to set a timeline or give an end date. However, that is untrue.
In order to do this, the contractor will need to engage in a thorough consultation. After this, they can provide an accurate timeline on a weekly/monthly and even a daily basis. This is crucial as you need to adjust your lifestyle according to the given timeline.
Similarly, this is also the right opportunity to ask them for any possible delays and their strategy on how to tackle them.
4. Are You a Licensed Contractor?
We cannot stress enough on the importance of this question. Before you move ahead with the remodeling process, you need to thoroughly vet the contractors. A good contractor should be is licensed, registered, and has certifications of insurance.
A licensed contractor is going to follow protocol, adhere to guidelines, and comes with a lot of experience under their belt. It is strongly discouraged that you work with an unlicensed contractor to save some money.
A simple reason for this is that a licensed contractor gives you the assurance of a job well done and is in the position to attach a warranty/guarantee to his/her work.
5. Do You Provide a Warranty?
Warranties and guarantees are more common than you think. After you’ve verified the license and other documentation requirements, the next step is to ask about their warranty services.
Every contractor will offer a warranty on their service, however, the terms may differ. It’s crucial that you ask the contractor about what comes under their warranty and the duration as well.
Most warranties begin from the date of completion of the contract and usually cover workmanship or labor. You can expect a warranty period of five years or more.
6. How Will Communication Take Place?
There is nothing worse than your remodeling project being stalled because your contactor took too long to reach out to you for approval. Communication is a key element of the remodeling process, sadly, it is also often overlooked.
Hence, it’s wise that you establish a communication strategy beforehand. While doing so, feel free to ask the contractor whether or not you’ll be provided with a dedicated project manager.
Contractors are often working with multiple clients, having a project manager on-site is a good way to ensure seamless communication and it helps to avoid unnecessary delays.
7. Do You Allow Homeowners to Provide Materials?
This is an important question to ask regardless of if you are planning on doing some minor DIY work, or simply want to retain some control over the choice of materials being used. You should always discuss terms in advance.
Most contractors don’t have a problem with you purchasing the materials but some contractors do rely on the commission they receive on purchasing a particular material.
So, it’s best that you get some clarity on it at the beginning itself. Maybe you can even purchase some materials or plan to carry out some work in yourself to save some bucks.
8. How Many Crew Members Will be Employed and What Safety Measures are Used?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions of the lot.
During the remodeling process, you will have workers walking in and out of your home. This is enough for you to have complete information on them.
At this point you should ask the contractor about the person who will be responsible on a daily basis and how many people will be present in your home on any given day. Similarly, ask them about their worker’s compensation policy.
If a contractor doesn’t have one in place, you are responsible if a worker is injured during the remodeling.
There is a reason why these are the questions you should ask your remodeling contractor. Selecting the right contractor is an important decision and these questions help you make the right judgment and bring you one step closer to your dream home design.