- Are you reachable? Before you sign an agreement, it is a good idea to call a few times to see how easy or difficult it is to reach your contractor. Get all the contact information you can. Write down the contractor’s cell phone, office telephone, business address, e-mail address, business license or home improvement number, license plate. When you need to reach your contractor, you’ll be glad to have these numbers.
- Have you done this before? Ask the contractor to describe similar projects he/she has worked on. You can call references, but, be aware, that it is unlikely that they will give you the names of unhappy clients. Ask if they have had any complaints and how they handled them.
- Who will be here? Ask about who will be supervising the job and how often you will get updates.
- How long will it take? How long does the contractor estimate the project will take? Discuss how missed deadlines will be addressed.
- How will you get paid? How much money does the contractor require up front? Be sure the agreement states when they will start and what is expected after each payment.
- Do you have insurance? A contractor should carry liability insurance to protect against any issues that occur when working on your home, worker’s compensation insurance for his/her workers, and vehicle insurance.
- Are you educated regarding Lead Safety? If you live in a house built before 1978, any professionals working on the home are required to have passed a lead paint safety course. In addition to this requirement, properly trained contractors bring useful knowledge to keep your home safe.
Start with these brief questions at a minimum and don’t be afraid to ask more questions.
Once you meet the contractor, you will get an understanding of his/her personality which is very important especially if you are planning a lengthy project. You don’t need to be best friends, just able to communicate professionally.
While it is typical to ask for 2-3 bids on a project, remember to compare the same timing, level of products and services as well as experience and insurance coverage.
Beware, your best choice may not be the cheapest. And the best quality isn’t always the most expensive.
For more information or for help remodeling your home or business call HMMA, Inc. in Northern NJ at 201-943-3331.