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87 Questions to Ask A Contractor

In this infographic, we have gathered the 11 most important questions to ask a contractor. To read the full list of 87 questions, scroll down below the infographic.

With the list of questions you’re about to read, you’ll be much better equipped when needing to find that contractor.

The process of hiring a contractor is not a simple matter of hiring the first contractor that you find right there on the spot. Even if this contractor comes highly recommended, you have to make sure that you’re hiring the right one for your needs. We’ll help you find the best contractors in your area with our database and we’ll provide you the best quotes for your needs. However, it’s still up to you which one you’re going to hire.

You need to ask the right questions for you to be able to determine which contractor to hire. Here’s the full list of 87 questions to ask contractors before hiring. This list of questions should hopefully make it easier with regards of how to hire a contractor.

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infographic that lists the most important questions to ask a contractor

 

Are you a licensed contractor? Can you show me your license?

It’s never a good idea to work with an unlicensed contractor. The contractor should be licensed to do the services offered in your area. But first, check to make sure that your state actually requires a license. If yes, then work with a licensed contractor only.

Either way, ask for any trade certification. These certifications show that they’re invested in making sure that they develop.

Of course, ask to see the license and certifications and make sure to check their validity.

Are you insured? Can you show me your proof of insurance?

illustration of insurance

At the very least, the contractor should have general liability insurance whether or not it’s required in your state. Workman comp is another coverage that the contractor should have. These things protect everyone involved.

If they say yes, ask to see proof of insurance. After that, call the insurance agent to make sure that the policy is still in force and in effect.

Where can I see pictures of your past works? Can you refer me to clients you’ve worked with in the past?

Most of the best contractors have a website where you can see their past works. These pictures should give you a good idea on what to expect. These pictures should also show you how good they are. The pictures should be clear enough for you to see the workmanship.

Of course, it’s a good idea for you to verify further. The best way for you to do it is to ask the contractor to refer you to their past clients so you can contact them so you can ask for feedback.

Can you give me a quote or an estimate on how much the job will cost?

You can’t hire a contractor without knowing how much the project is going to cost you. One of the most important factors that you have to consider is the project cost. The quote or estimate that the contractor will give you will tell you if the contractor is within your budget or not.

You can’t expect the quote to be 100% accurate, but it should be pretty close. You can ask for a price range but the range should be as small as possible.

If the contractor can give a specific quote, that says a lot about the professionalism and expertise of the contractor. It would mean that the contractor has a lot of experiences so he has no problem providing a specific quote because he’s done it before.

 

Should I have a design made? Can you do it for me?

In most cases, having a design made is a necessary cost. It’s not as if the contractor is making you spend more money so he can earn more. It’s just that having a design will prevent potential issues from happening later on.

If you have a design, you’ll know what you’re going to get and for how much. You’ll get all the information needed and you’ll get a more specific quote.

 

Do you have polite and courteous workers?

You’ll be dealing with these workers for the whole duration of the job. They should be polite and courteous to make sure that you and your family will have a pleasant experience. Ask if they’ve received training to ensure that they’re polite and courteous. Ask if they’ve received any complaints. It’s also a good idea to contact past clients to ask what their experiences were as far as these things are concerned.

When do you expect the job to be finished?

illustration of a process

You’re going to plan your whole schedule around the project schedule. You may need to take some days off from work. You may need to stay home during the weekends. This is why you need to know when the contractor expects for the job to be finished.

The last thing that you’d want to happen is for your whole life and work schedules to be messed up just because you assumed that the project is only going to take a couple of weeks when in fact it requires a couple of months.

Can you provide me the terms of payment starting with the deposit up until the final payment?

Paying a deposit is an accepted industry practice so this is okay. The most important thing is that you know the terms of payment. You should know when you’re going to pay and for how much. You should also know what you’re going to pay for.

Generally speaking, you’re expected to pay a deposit and the final payment. In most cases, you’ll also be required to pay for each milestone.

Do you guarantee your work? What’s the warranty?

If the contractor can guarantee his team’s work, then that speaks volumes about his confidence in his whole team. It means that he’s confident enough that his team is going to do a great job and if not, then he’s going to make himself liable and ensure that you’re 100% fully satisfied.

There should also be a warranty to ensure quality of work. A contractor that can offer a long warranty is one that’s confident in the materials and the processes used in the project

Why should I choose your company?

It’s a good idea for you to do your homework by checking out as many contractors as you can. This question allows you to learn of the unique selling proposition of the contractor that you’re talking to. You need to know what makes them stand out from the rest and sometimes, it’s the contractor that’s the best person to tell this to you.

There should be very specific answers. Answers like “we’re the best”, “we’re a professional company” and the likes won’t help you make a decision.

For example, a contractor may say that he works with the best suppliers and he’ll list them down for you. He can also say that he’s been in this business for 30 years. He can also say that he regularly receives service awards.

How long will it take you to finish the job? Can you break down the process for me?

It’s not enough that you know how long it will take for the team to finish the project. You should also know the whole process. Ask for a breakdown. What’s going to be installed when? What’s next after that? How long will that take? Knowing the breakdown of the process will allow you to plan accordingly.

In addition, this should also show you how efficient they are. If you feel that a process will take too long, then you can ask why that’s the case.

What days and hours are you planning to work?

You can’t be at the mercy of their schedule on whether they feel like working or not. There should be a fix schedule on the days and hours that they’re going to work so you can plan accordingly.

For example, the contractor can say that they’re planning on working from Monday to Saturday from 7 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. By knowing these things, you can plan accordingly. You can lessen the effects of the remodeling or renovation on your life.

 

Do you have liability insurance? Are you insured in case of an accident?

You don’t want to be held liable if an accident happens while they’re working on your property. This is why you should make sure that they are insured. They should also be held liable for any damages incurred during the project. If they don’t have liability insurance, then they may have a hard time covering for the cost to fix the damages.

Being insured also shows professionalism on their part. It shows that they ensure that everyone is protected.

How about your subcontractors? Are they insured for liability and accidents?

It’s not uncommon for a contractor to hire subcontractors. They should also be liable for them even if they’re not technically employed by their company. This is why they should also be covered by insurance that protects them from liabilities and accidents.

Who is the point person on site who I can talk to for updates and questions?

question mark on a wooden background

It’s never a good feeling to be tossed around when all you need are answers to some questions. This is why you should know who you should go to directly if you have any questions about the contractor’s work. This is the point person that should always be on site. This person can provide you with updates regarding the project and he should be knowledgeable and experienced enough to answer any questions that you may have.

This point person should also be operating at official capacity. Whatever he says and does will reflect on the company

How can I communicate with you and your team if I have concerns while the job is ongoing?

Unfortunately, a lot of contractors only make themselves available while they’re trying to get your business. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, that’s when you’ll start having difficulties reaching them.

This is why from the very start; you should know how you can directly contact the contractor. Ask for the best way to get in touch with the contractor and the team involved. Usually, the best way is via phone, so ask for a direct phone number.

How do you ensure the safety and protection of the areas and things that surround the job site?

safety gear lying on the ground

This is not war. There should be no “collateral damage”. The contractor should be confident and specific with his answers. The workers should be trained to respect and protect the things that surround the job site.

At what milestones am I expected to pay? How do I pay for each milestone?

No single party should commit too much when it comes to the payment and the work. This means that the client shouldn’t be too forward with the payment and the contractor shouldn’t be too forward with the work. The client should be paying just enough for the work already done with just a little extra to cover the next process of the job. On the other hand, the contractor should be paid for the work already done and get a little extra that he can use to work on the next process.

Ask for the structure of the payment to make sure that this will be clear to both parties.

What happens if the scope of the job needs to be changed? How should we handle such changes?

In a perfect world, what’s initially agreed upon as far as the scope of the job is concerned will stay true the rest of the way. In a lot of cases, some changes need to be made. As a client, you may change your mind on what you want to be done. As a contractor, he may feel as if something needs to be done to improve the results. The important thing is you both know how you’re going to handle such changes.

Don’t wait until the end of the project before you work things out. Take care of the details before moving on with the project.

Can you explain your warranty to me?

It’s not enough that you know that the contractor is offering a warranty. You should know the specifics of the warranty and you should make sure that you understand it fully. A lot of contractors will offer a one year warranty. Usually, this is not enough. Aim to get at least a two year warranty on the installation of the product and the workmanship.

A good contractor won’t have any problems offering a two year warranty because professional contractors value long-term relationships.

Once the project is finished, will a lien release be provided by your company and your subcontractors?

The contractor shouldn’t have any problems providing a lien release. Be firm in saying that the final payment won’t be issued unless you receive all of them. These include the one from the subcontractors.

Are you familiar with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry? Are you a member?

This is a good association to be in if you’re a contractor who’s serious about making a positive mark in this industry. Members of this association are committed into ensuring that the public’s perception of the remodeling industry is a positive one. Members follow a code of ethics that ensure top-quality work and integrity.

How long have you been operating as a contractor?

Experience matters in this industry. Generally speaking, it’s better to work with a contractor who’s been in business for 10 years than one who’s only been in business for only a year. Of course, there are other factors to consider but this is a good determining factor.

Can you provide me a complete and itemized bid for the project?

It’s not enough that you know what the contractor’s bid is. You have to ask for an itemized bid to know what exactly you’re going to get. The bid should also be complete. It’s bad industry practice for a contractor to offer a bid and ask for more payment later on.

How long is the validity of your bid?

The contractor can’t expect you to decide right then and there. Ask for how long the bid is valid. A one month validity period is the usual norm. This gives you more than enough chance to do further research and check out other bids. It should also give you the time that you need to gather the funds needed and prepare your home and family for the job.

Can you provide me a list of your trusted suppliers?

You’ll be working indirectly with suppliers because they will supply the materials needed by the contractor to finish your project. If the contractor deals with bad suppliers, then you can expect problems to arise during and after the project. This is why you have to ask for a list of suppliers used so you can do your homework on them.

The suppliers should be trusted in the industry. They should have a proven track record of supplying high quality materials.

In addition, the contractor should have a good relationship with these suppliers for trouble-free transactions. Issues among them will affect your project.

How experienced are you with a project like this?

experience illustration

It’s not enough that the contractor is experienced. He should be experienced in the type of project that you have. He should have worked with similar projects in the past so that he won’t treat your project as on the job training.

Ask to see samples of past projects same as yours. If you can, contact past clients to know what their experiences were.

Do you like our list of questions to ask before hiring a contractor? We’d really appreciate it if you share it with your friends that might enjoy it as well.

Do you have ongoing projects?

A contractor with a lot of ongoing projects is one that’s trusted in the industry. However, you have to know whether or not your project will get the devotion that it needs. You have to see if the company is able to juggle the amount of ongoing projects and if it’s still good enough to handle one more.

What if they don’t have an ongoing project? It shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but check further why they don’t have one at the moment.

How many projects are you personally handling right now?

This is a follow up question. The company could be juggling dozens of projects but the contractor may be personally handling just a handful of them. If this is the case, ask if he can handle one more. Ask this after you’ve explained how big the project is.

How experienced are you as a contractor in this industry?

Again, experience matters in this industry. Ask for specific experiences as a contractor, and not just as a player in the industry. Some contractors start counting the moment that they pick up a hammer. Ask for their experience as a contractor.

Have you previously operated as a contractor of a different business name?

This can be a big deal. Usually, business owners stick to their original name due to brand recall. If they’ve operated as a contractor of a different business name before, ask for that name so you can do research on that company. It’s also a good idea to ask what brought the change in business name, but do your own research.

If there’s nothing shady about the change in business name, like if the contractor simply wanted a rebranding, then consider the experience gained using the old business name.

What is your company’s permanent business address? How about the address of your warehouse and showroom?

You have to know their permanent addresses. Don’t settle for a PO Box. Don’t settle for a phone number or email address. Know where their office, warehouse and showroom are. Take the time to visit these physical locations because they reflect the status of the company.

For example, a poorly-managed office may lead to poor communication. A warehouse packed with substandard materials may mean that substandard materials will be used.

Also, if the company has no permanent address, then it could be a fly-by-night company.

Will you be assigning a supervisor for the project? What’s his name?

supervisor at construction sitew

A contractor can’t be at the site all the time so there should be an assigned supervisor to ensure that the tasks are carried out as planned. The supervisor will also handle any issues and concerns that you may have.

Ask for the name of the supervisor and do research on this person. Ask to talk to this supervisor so you can gauge if you can work with this person or not.

Will your employees work on this project or will you hire subcontractors?

There’s nothing wrong with hiring subcontractors, but you have to know if subcontractors will be working on the project. Of course, it’s best if the contractor’s employees themselves will work on the project.

If they’re going to hire subcontractors, ask for the terms of the hiring. What are the scopes of their job? What are your accountabilities as the client? Will you be dealing with the subcontracting company? Speaking of the company, you should do research on that company as well.

How do you deal with a project of this size and type?

The answer shouldn’t be a cookie-cutter type of answer. The contractor should be specific as to his approach on this size and type of project. How will he start? How will he determine the quote? How will he manage the project and the workers? How many workers will be assigned to the project? Will he handle the project personally?

The more knowledgeable the contractor is on how he explains his approach, the better.

How often will you be on the job site to ensure that it’s progressing as planned?

Again, you can’t expect him to be on the site 24/7. But still, you have to ask for a commitment on how often he’ll be on the site. He doesn’t need to be there the whole time. He just needs to ensure that the project is progressing as planned.

The best answer is a commitment that he’ll be there most of the time. This is to ensure that he’s present to make sure that his workers are being efficient with their work and he can solve issues immediately whenever one arises.

In case I decide to work on part of the project, will this be an issue?

Some clients may want to work on part of the project. Sometimes, some clients insist on finishing the project themselves. These things usually happen because of budget constraints. This can be an issue so it’s a good idea to know before the project is started if the contractor feels that it’s going to be an issue so you can both decide what you will do if this happens.

When can you start with the project and how long do you think it will take?

contractor at construction site

A contractor with a lot of projects on his plate may not be able to start on your project immediately. Obviously, this is an issue if you need it started immediately. But even if you’re not really in a hurry, you should know when they can start on your project so you can make the necessary preparations.

You should also know their estimated finish date so you’ll know how long you’ll be hiring them for. This is also important for your planning.

Can you provide me with a breakdown on how you arrived at your quote?

It’s not enough that you know what their quote is. You have to know the things that constitute the quote. For all you know, labor is not yet included in the quote. You have to know what you’re getting for the quote so you can compare quotes effectively.

Ask for an all-in quote and then ask for a breakdown to ensure that everything is covered.

Can you provide me with a walkthrough on the different stages of the job?

You need to have a good idea on what’s going to happen. The contractor should have a good process in mind as far as the different stages are concerned. The company’s workers can’t just “wing it”. Their process should make sense so have the contractor walk you through the different stages of the job.

Who will manage this job?

Will the contractor manage the job personally or will he assign someone else? It’s best if the contractor himself will manage the job but it shouldn’t be a problem if he assigns someone else as long as he feels that he’s the best man for the job.

What if I’m not fully satisfied with the results?

5 star illustration

Your satisfaction should be fully guaranteed and the contractor should guarantee this. Your satisfaction must be ensured for every stage of the job and the contractor should be willing to make things right if the problem is on their end.

Of course, you can’t hold the contractor liable if you’re not satisfied even if the contractor followed everything and you simply changed your mind at the last second. But if you’re not satisfied with the quality or if the end result is different from what was agreed upon, then they should make things right.

How often do you finish a job within your committed finish date?

You have no use for a quick turnaround time if the company has a history of going past the committed finish date regularly. You can’t expect a 100% batting average as far as this commitment is concerned because a lot of factors come into play like changes in the scope of the job or unforeseen events like natural disasters, but it should be pretty close.

Do you mind if we put your commitment into writing?

written document

The contractor should be willing to stand by his commitments by putting everything into writing. Contractors know the importance of putting everything into writing. This is to prevent problems down the line just because something wasn’t put into writing. Contractors sometimes forget verbal commitments or they simply don’t want to honor them. Having them into writing prevents these things from happening.

Will the work continue non-stop until it’s finished or will you take a break in between?

Breaks can be expected if holidays are going to be hit. But generally speaking, it’s best if you can have them commit to working non-stop. After all, you want the project to be finished as soon as possible. While a one or two day break every week is expected, it’s pretty frustrating to stare at a half-finished project while the team goes on a week break.

If there will be conflicts, ask them when they can commit to a non-stop working schedule.

How many projects are you personally handling? How often do you commit to making yourself physically available onsite for this project?

A good contractor will be personally handling several projects at a time. This shows how trusted he is. The question is – is he efficient enough? If he’s been getting a lot of projects mainly from return customers and referrals, then there’s a good chance that he’s efficient enough.

But still, you need to get a commitment that he’ll be physically present to oversee the project if he’s going to personally handle it. He should be available most of the time.

Do you hire subcontractors to do some or all of the work?

Companies generally hire full-time employees that are just enough to handle a handful of projects at a time. This is to make sure that the company stays efficient with their finances even during downtimes. This is why if they have more projects that they can handle, they hire subcontractors to do some of the work.

On the other hand, some companies hire subcontractors to do all of the work. This shouldn’t be a problem provided that they’re hiring good subcontractors as well and their partnership won’t get in the way of your partnership with the contractor. Of course, you’re not expected to pay more just to cover for the hiring of the subcontractors.

Does your team clean up the site at the end of each day? What’s the cleanup policy of you subcontractors?

This is very important especially if the project is for your home. The mess can pile up especially if it’s a big project so the team should clean up the site at the end of the day. This ensures that mess won’t get in the way the following day.

Sometimes, some contractors fail to clarify the cleanup policy with their subcontractors so you’ll end up with a team who doesn’t want to clean up at the end of the day because it’s not included in their agreement. Make sure to ask for the cleanup policy.

Will the mess be dumped in a dumpster or will your team just leave the mess in a pile somewhere on the site?

dumpster

The answer that you want to hear is that the mess will be placed in a dumpster. However, sometimes, it makes better sense if the mess will be left in a pile on the site for later retrieval. This makes sense if it’s a big project in a big site. It’s more efficient to have a truck pull in every now and then to pick up the pile of mess.

When an issue arises during or after the job, how do you handle it?

The contractor should be professional enough to handle all issues involving the project. You wouldn’t want to deal with a contractor who hasn’t handled any major issue before. Ask for issues that they’ve encountered in the past and ask how they handled it.

A good contractor should be able to solve issues that benefit all parties involved. Of course, he should be present to handle the issues.

What are the products that your team uses? Do they have a warranty?

warranty illustration

Ask about all the products that the company uses – from the materials to the chemicals. Make sure that they’re safe to use and high in quality.

Ask for the warranties on these products. They should have a separate warranty.

What is the workload of your company right now?

Can the company handle another project? To be more specific, can it handle a project the size of your proposed project? Knowing the current workload of the company is important to determine this. If the company is currently working on 10 projects, but your project is only a small one and the company has a proven track record of being able to juggle several projects efficiently, then this shouldn’t be a problem provided that you get a commitment.

How do you structure the contracts?

The contracts should be structured in a very specific manner. At the very least, the following things should be clear – start date, targeted completion date, payment terms and schedules and materials used. The contracts should allow all parties involved to be able to set expectations and these contracts will protect all parties involved.

How do you select products that you use?

Do they have a list of trusted products that they’ve been using for decades now? This is ideal. However, know how they choose products. Do they simply go for the cheapest ones? This is a bad sign. The contractor should choose the best products, with the cost a prime consideration so the savings can be passed on to you.

Do you stay up to date with the latest trends? How do you do it?

Admittedly, the trends in the construction, remodeling and similar industries are not that actively-changing. But still, trends do change and it’s important that they’re able to keep up with the trends. Of course, they should be familiar with these latest trends so they’ll know how to keep up. Membership in trade associations is a good start.

Do you mind if you give me an itemized list of your bid?

The contractor shouldn’t have any issues providing an itemized list of the bid. He should make it clear what’s included in the bid so that you’ll be clear on what you’re paying for.

How much do you require as down payment?

First of all, check your state laws on what the maximum allowed downpayment to a contractor is. The contractor shouldn’t ask for more than this. The downpayment should be just enough to cover for the purchase of the materials and to get the work started.

After that, it’s about paying for milestones. As a general rule, don’t pay for something that isn’t there yet.

To whom do I write the check to?

man writing a check

You wouldn’t want to contribute to contractors cooking their books. This is why it’s best to write the check to the business name and not to any individual in the business. You want the contractor to pay their taxes with the money that they’ll earn from you. If they’re licensed to operate as a business and yet, the contractor insists on a personal payment, then something’s not right.

Can you give me all of the company’s addresses and phone numbers?

You need to check for the legitimacy of the company so you need to check their physical addresses and phone numbers. You should also know where you can go or how you can contact them anytime you want or need to so you should know these things beforehand.

Are you a part of the BBB or Better Business Bureau?

They have to be a part of the Better Business Bureau. It’s that simple. While some states do not require membership to the BBB, it’s good business practice if the company commits to being a member. This is because the BBB implements strict business practices. They’re also committed to solving any conflicts quickly.

In addition to asking, you can also check out for yourself if they’re a part of the BBB by checking at BBB.org. You can also call the local BBB office.

Are you a part of any trade associations? Which ones?

Professional trade associations can level up the expertise of contractors. They can learn a lot from being a member. For starters, they can learn about the latest trends. They can also learn from the most successful members and they can apply these learnings themselves.

Ask for the names of these associations and check them out. You can start by asking if they’re a member of the “Big Three” trade associations in the remodeling industry namely the National Association of Home Builders – Remodelers, National Kitchen and Bath Association and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

What are your warranties for the materials used and the labor?

It’s not enough that the contractor says that the materials use and the labor are covered by warranties. You have to know the specifics. What are covered? How long are they covered for?

Will the same team work on the whole project from start to finish?

You’d want the same team to work on the whole project from start to finish. If not, there’s a tendency wherein the new team won’t hit the ground running. At least if the same team is working, they know what’s already done and what needs to be done at the start of each day.

It also helps that you’ve already established a working relationship with the team that’s working on the project. If a new team comes in, then you need to establish a new working relationship.

Can you tell me how the company is managed?

You need to know if the company is managed well. If the contractor can give you a good explanation as to how the company is managed, then that’s a good sign. Start with the top-most level down to the lowest level. Learn who’s accountable to whom. Know who you need to deal with for potential issues.

How can you finish a project properly with a lower bid? (if they’re giving an estimate lower than the estimates given by other contractors)

If the contractor offers a rate that’s significantly lower than the other bids, then it may seem too good to be true. But if that contractor can offer a good explanation, then you could have found a good deal.

Some contractors are able to offer a lower bid because of their partnerships with suppliers and subcontractors. It could also show that they’re very efficient with their work which allows them to offer a lower bid.

Are there potential issues that can arise while the repairs are ongoing?

toolss

If the contractor says no, then stay away. Any good contractor understands Murphy’s Law and he should be prepared for it. Experience will tell him that issues do arise and he should always be ready for these potential issues. With that being said, you should be ready as well so you should know what these potential issues are.

What are we going to do if the committed date of completion arrives and you’re not yet finished?

Again, certain issues can arise that may lead to the contractor missing his estimated finish date. This is why you have to know what will happen if this happens. Are you going to be compensated? How much? What will happen to the payment terms? How long will it take? Are you going to work with the same team? These are questions that should be answered by the contractor.

Are you operating locally?

It’s always best to work with a local company. It’s more efficient this way. Generally speaking, you’ll spend lower on a local company. The team can also work more efficiently because of their local presence.

As a bonus, you’re contributing to the local economy.

Will the workers arrive in uniform and in a marked van? Did they receive the proper training and are they free from any drug?

You wouldn’t want to have shady individuals working on your property. The workers should be tested to be free from any drug. They should represent the company well by arriving in uniform and a marked van. This is for your own safety. After all, would you open your doors to a group of men not in uniform and in an unmarked van just because they’re telling you that they’re there to do some remodeling?

Have you ever received recognitions or awards for the services that you provide?

You’d want to work with an award-winning company in the same way that you’d want to watch a movie with award-winning actors. Simply put, you know that they’ll deliver.

Ask for what recognitions or awards they’ve received. Community awards are always a good thing along with awards from trade associations in their industry. You’d want to see awards and recognitions for the services that they provide.

Are you a contributing member of the community?

community arrangement

You need to work with a local company that also contributes to the community. A local company already contributes to the community by merely being a licensed contractor that provides services to community members and paying taxes, but it’s a good thing if they do more.

How do they give back to the community? Do they sponsor community events? Do they hire local employees? Do they make contributions to the church? Even the smallest of things count.

What’s the best way to contact you?

It’s not enough that you know their contact information. You should know the best way to contact them. This is usually by phone, but some contractors feel that it’s best to contact them via email. Just make sure that the contractor always checks this mode of communication whatever it may be.

How many direct employees does your company employ?

This will give you an idea on how big the company is. Is it a one-man show? Is it a huge company with dozens of employees in its payroll? This will also let you know if subcontractors will be asked to work on your project or not.

How many outstanding bids do you have out there, if any?

What if the contractor has a dozen bids out there and they all end up as jobs? Where will that leave your project? Will it be treated as a priority? Will the bid remain valid? More importantly, will the company be able to handle all of them?

Are you operating out of a home office?

This will show you how much capital the contractor is working with. If he’s operating out of a home office, then it may mean that he’s working on a small capital and may prove to be problematic if you have a huge project.

However, it can be a case of location if the home office is located in a prime location, so don’t immediately dismiss those operating out of a home office.

How do you see your business 5 or 10 years from now?

This will show you if the contractor has ambition. A contractor that has none will be hard to work with. On the other hand, a contractor who sees a bigger and more successful company will work very hard to achieve that, including making sure that all projects are done and completed in a quality manner.

What’s the longest downtime that your company has experienced in between jobs?

If there’s little to no downtime, then it means that the company is very popular and probably for good reason. It means that they come highly-recommended and they have a lot of return clients.

What is the most challenging project that you’ve completed?

This will show you how experienced the contractor is. This is very important especially if you feel that you have a challenging project. More importantly, check to see if they were able to overcome this challenge.

What does your company specialize in?

While a lot of contractors are able to work on different specializations, it’s best to work with a contractor whose company specializes in your specific need. This can help the team achieve the best results. They’ll also have the best skills, technology, people and materials needed for the project.

Do you have many long-time employees? How long have they worked for you?

Having a lot of long-time employees is proof of a well-run business. You’d want to deal with a company that has a lot of long-time employees especially since there’s a good chance that they’re very satisfied with their work and what they’re getting. This will translate to a better performance for your project.

Do you offer financing options?

Some contractors do offer financing. This is helpful if you want to stretch your budget a little. Ask for their financing options and take advantage of them if you feel that you can save money in the long run. On that note, make sure to check how much you’ll end up paying once all fees have been settled.

Do you clean and maintain your service vehicles regularly?

This is another sign of a well-run company. If the service vehicles are poor in shape, then it shows that they don’t really care in the efficiency of their business and that they tend to cut corners.

What materials do you recommend in my area?

This shows their knowledge in your local area. They’re not supposed to recommend the most expensive option. They’re supposed to recommend the best option after considering all things including the weather in your area.

Can we sign a “time and materials” contract?

This is a standard contract that legitimate contractors shouldn’t have any problems signing. Basically, this contract will only require the client to pay for the work done by the team and the materials used only and it shouldn’t matter how much work needs to be done. Some contractors would push for a fixed-price contract

Can we include a clause for termination in the contract that we’ll both co-write?

It should be clear in the contract as to situations that will allow the aggrieved party to terminate the contract. This is an exit strategy that should lessen the headache of the aggrieved.

Will you take care of all the necessary inspections and permits?

man stamping paper

You shouldn’t be expected to handle the inspections and permits. The answer that you’re looking for is yes, they should take care of all the necessary inspections and permits.

One such reason is when the contractor fails to deliver milestones regularly. On the other hand, the contractor may terminate the contract if the client fails to pay for the milestones.

These are a lot of questions to ask a contractor but once your get the answers, you should be able to make the best decision. Whether you need to find a roofing contractor, general contractor or something else, these questions will help weed out  the not so good one s and save you money down the road by avoiding making costly mistakes.

Can you give me a list of your suppliers and subcontractors? Do you pay them on time?

Subcontractors and suppliers aren’t always paid on time by contractors. By finding a contractor that does pay their subcontractors on time, you’ll find a company that is focused on the long term prospects of their business. When they treat their suppliers and subcontractors according to their agreements, you know it’s a genuine business that will deliver quality work.

That was the full list of questions to ask before hiring a contractor. How to find a good contractor should hopefully be easier with the aid of these questions. Now you’ll know exactly what to ask a contractor. We’ve also made a summary of the most important questions to ask a contractor below. Be sure to share this post with your friends that are looking answer the question “how to hire a contractor?” and don’t know what questions to ask to find a good contractor.