RSS

8 Questions To Ask A Contractor’s References

8 Questions To Ask A Contractor’s References
Checking a contractor's references is an essential step before making any home improvement hiring decision. If you really want to get the scoop on whether or not a contractor is the right fit for your home improvement project, make it a point to contact former customers and ask them some important questions about the remodeling contractor's quality of work and reliability. The following questions are a good place to start: 1. What kind of work did the contractor do for you? Was the contractor hired to provide a large-scale remodeling or improvement project, or a smaller one? What was your overall goal for the project? Was the contractor able to customize your project to match your goals? 2. Did you have a clear idea of what the contractor was going to do? Did the contractor provide adequate written detail in the contract including important details such as who will be performing the work, what types of materials will be used, when the project will be started an finished, and how change orders should be handled? 3. Did they show up on time? How often did contractor or crew come to the home? What hours did they work? Did they clean up the work site at the end of each day? Did they follow the schedule outlined in the contract? 4. What was working with the contractor’s crew or subcontractors like? If the contractor wasn’t there, was there a crew leader or an employee to answer your questions or make decisions? Were they pleasant and easy to work with? If the contractor used subcontractors, were you happy with them? Were you provided a lien waiver in the contract to guarantee you wouldn't be responsible for payments to subcontractors or material suppliers? 5. Was communication with the contractor adequate? Did the contractor stay in touch with you throughout the project or if any changes needed to be made? Did he or she keep you apprised of the status of the project on a regular basis? 6. Did your job come in according to budget? Did the contractor provide a fixed price for the project upfront? Is that the price you paid? If not, why not? (i.e.: Was it because of unforeseeable repair issues like rotted framing; Was it due to customer requested upgrades or changes; Was it due to foreseeable miscalculations on the contractor’s part). If the cost changed due to the first two reasons, that is typical. If the cost changed due to the third reason, ask more questions. You are interested to determine the contractor’s experience, expertise and ability to communicate. Experience level (How often does he do this type of project?) If this is the first kitchen remodel or one of the first, he is still learning to account for major details. This contractor may seem cheaper upfront, but you will pay more for the lack of experience throughout the job. Expertise level (What standard of quality does the contractor hold for jobs?) If the contractor typically flips houses and then gets a high end remodel, that contractor is out of his or her depth. They will not know how to finish out on a higher end and may not know how to finish out on an average end either. It is better for that contractor to continue flipping houses. Communication method of the contractor (Does he write down details or tend to verbally communicate leaving conceptual details left to his imagination?). The professional contractor knows how to clearly communicate the details for each job including all materials, special instructions for how they will be installed, what will be removed, what will be added and the time the homeowner can expect to see this work begin and end. And yes, ALL OF THIS SHOULD BE WRITTEN DOWN! Coincidentally, this same info will clue you in to how the contractor prices out work. Cheaper costs may be the result of cheaper materials, cheaper and less experienced workers, not knowing how to price out work, not accounting for what work needs to be done and a lesser standard for the finished product. This is why homeowners can expect different pricing from each contactor. They are playing the cards they have based on their experience, expertise and the ability to follow through on what they say they will do. 7. Did you get the results you expected? If not, why? Did they fulfill the obligations of the contract? Did they complete the work on time? If not, why? Did the work pass code inspection? 8. Would you hire the contractor again? No one answer will say more about a contractor's work then the customer's willingness to hire them again. If they aren't willing to hire the contractor again, why not? Was there something particular about the contractor, their crew or the project that they didn't like? **Helton Remodeling Services, LLC provides quality models and additions to the Metro Austin area.** We partner with award winning interior designer and architectural firms to make your dream project become a reality.


Add New Comment

Name
Subject
Comment
Security Code: Captcha Code