Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before You Hire Them
At some point, there will come a time when renovations are needed for your home. They might be small jobs such as changing the color of the walls or installing new flooring, or you might decide to make some much more significant changes like putting in a new kitchen or bathroom or even building an extension. You might want to entirely change a house you’ve just moved into. No matter what you are planning and assuming you aren’t going to carry out the work yourself, you’ll need to find the right contractor to help you.
There are many reasons why hiring a contractor is the best option. It will save you time since you won’t have to do the work yourself, possibly a little at a time after work or at weekends. It will mean that the job is done to a high standard. If there are any issues, the experts will easily be able to fix them. Plus, although you’ll need to spend money, it’s far better to spend that money on a good contractor than it is to try to do the work yourself and then have to hire someone in to finish it or fix the problems you have found, thus having to pay more than you would have initially.
If you decide that this is the correct route to go down, then you’ll need to pick the right contractor for the work. Choosing the wrong one may also cost you dearly because you then have to hire a better contractor to finish the work in the right way. Plus, the end result will be of a lower quality. With that in mind, here are some of the most important questions to ask your contractor before you hire them.
Do You Have Any References?
Asking for references is hugely important when it comes to choosing the right contractor to carry out work on your home, and it’s certainly not rude, which is what many people seem to think. In fact, a good, legitimate contract will expect you to ask for references and, if you don’t, might even offer them up themselves to ensure that you have a good idea of their previous happy clients and the great work they have done.
Don’t just accept the references and ignore them; make sure you follow them up. See what the former clients thought of the contractor’s work, their prices, how long the job took, and even how polite and tidy they were. Whatever is important to you is something you should try to find out more about. Once you’ve spoken to someone about the work, ask if you can see the result. This may not always be possible, but taking a look at previous work is one of the best ways to determine whether or not the quality is right for you.
If you’re unable to see work for yourself, then ask the contractor to provide photos. Although it’s not quite the same as seeing the work in real life, it’s still possible to gauge the results and get a better idea of whether you would be happy to use them or not.
Are You Insured And Licensed?
Ask any contractor if they are insured and licensed and they are more than likely going to say yes. However, as much as it would be great to be able to believe everyone all the time, some people will try to fool you and tell you they have these important elements in place when they actually don’t. So that you can be sure that the insurance and licenses are all in place, ask to see the evidence in the form of insurance certificates and license numbers or ID cards. Again, it’s not impolite to ask to see this information, and good, hard-working, genuine contracts will be able to provide it.
If the contract is unable to provide the documents you have asked for, and they seem unaware of the contractors license guide or any other necessary particulars, then it is best to stay away from them and not hire them for your project. Hiring someone with the proper licenses and who has put insurance in place means that you are protected should something go wrong. Knowingly choosing a firm to work on your property without seeing the evidence of their experience and their insurance could lead to big problems that you have no way of solving.
What Is The Estimated Time Frame For The Project?
When it comes to working with a contractor, it’s always wise to ask what time frame they think they will be working to. They may not have an exact answer, and they probably won’t, but having an estimate will be helpful. This won’t mean they have to give you their exact plan for every day because, as you probably know yourself, any plan can be subject to change at any time, depending on circumstances. A good contractor won’t want to disappoint their clients by making promises about time frames that they aren’t sure they can keep – this is why it will usually be an estimate.
If you don’t think the time frame is long enough, think twice before hiring the contractor. A specialist would never promise that they could do a job quickly; they are much more likely to overestimate the amount of time needed to give them the room they need to work and to ensure their customers are satisfied with the service on offer. Only those who don’t understand the job they need to do or who don’t care about customer service will offer extremely short time frames or time frames that are very different from what other people have told you.
Who Will Be Working With You?
In some cases, although not all, the person who comes to price up the job is not the person who will be carrying out the work, and if they are going to do the work, they are likely to have other people there to assist them (unless the job is very small in which case one person may well be enough). This is why it’s important to talk about who else will be working with the contractor. After all, the questions you’re asking will relate to anyone working on the project, not just the person in charge or the one who is there to sell their services to you.
As the person paying for the work and in whose home the work will be carried out, you are entitled to know exactly who is going to be there, and the contractor should happily be able to give you a list of all the names. Again, it’s crucial to know what experience each person has and whether they are licensed if this is a requirement.
What Happens If A Change Is Needed?
Sometimes plans change, and there will be situations that mean your contract might have to change its initial ideas. They might find that additional work is needed, for example, or that they need extra materials. While this is understandable, what happens if it occurs on your project?
You might think that it’s not overly important to know about these issues or the changes that they bring about, but when you consider that it might impact the cost or the time frame of the project, you can see why it’s so crucial. Knowing in advance what the process for making any adjustments means that you can be sure you’ll remain in control. After all, it’s your house, and you need to know what’s happening within it.