5 Things to Ask Your Potential Contractor
The success of your finished remodeling job will depend on your success in finding and hiring the right contractor. To insure your success in every way, here are five things to ask your prospective contractors before you hire one of them. And make sure you pay as much attention to how they answer as what they answer. If you are having difficulty communicating with them now, imagine how much more difficult, and problematical, it will be in mid-job.
1.Will you itemize your bill? You always want an itemized accounting of how much the contractor will spend on each item. This is especially important if you want to change, or eliminate, an aspect of the job due to cost considerations. And an itemized bill will provide proper documentation about the scope of the entire project, in case any disputes arise later.
2.Is your bid just an estimate, or a fixed price? Make sure that you request a fixed price bid. This will give you a firmer foundation on which to base your hiring decision, and will eliminate any financial surprise as the job progresses.
3.How long have been in business locally? A contractor may have been in business for forty years, but if that experience isn’t local, he may still be struggling with establishing a local network of craftsmen and suppliers. You don’t want that struggle to be reflected in your project. Ask for a business card with a local address, and references from one or two of his earliest clients to verify that he is local, has been in business for a while, and will not be managing your job from a distance.
4.Who are your suppliers? Contractors build a network of suppliers in the area. Ask for the name of his suppliers, and contact them about his reliability, and the quality of his work. These merchants may include kitchen and bath showrooms, lumber yards, tile shops, even the pro desk at your local home improvement store. All of them can be a source of valuable information.
5.Who will be the foreman on my project, and can I meet him? Many general contractors never actually perform any physical labor on your job site. They manage their business from a distance. This means that the job foreman will be the most important member of your team. Ask to meet the foreman in person, preferably at his current job site. Assess if the job is running smoothly under his guidance. If you are intractable in your insistence on meeting the foreman, and surveying his current site, the contractor will be more likely to use his best man, and crew, on your job. And if the contractor tells you he’ll be running the project himself, ask if he’ll be there every day, and hold him to any promise he makes.
Now that you’ve got the tools, go hire the best contractor out there!
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