Posted by: jeb1 | March 20, 2009

HOW TO INTERVIEW CONTRACTORS

These are questions that can be asked for interviewing contractors.

 

 

1. How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year or two?

 

2. What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?

  • Referrals indicate satisfied clients.
  • A large percentage of referrals indicate a reputable, quality contractor.

 

3. Will you provide me with referrals? 

  1.  
    1. Ask for at least three same-kind references for the past six months.
    2. Get some references more than one year out of warranty to learn how the contractor handled their guarantees.
    3. Call those references. Ask them about any problems – financial or work related. Don’t settle for a contractor who gets anything but praise.
    4. Go see those referenced projects. Most homeowners are happy to show you a project they are proud of, and nothing replaces seeing what you’ll get.

 

4. Are you a member of NAHB or the Remodel Council? 

  • National Association of Home Builders.
  • Membership means Remodel Council are their peers.
  • Do they have any design credentials?
  • Are they members of the local organizations such as, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, etc.?
  • Are they active in these organizations?

 

 

5. Are you licensed? 

  • Every viable business will have a viable business license
  • In Louisiana State, contractors must also be registered with the state.
  • If they can’t show you proof, don’t hire them
  •  

 

6. Do you carry general liability insurance? 

  • Provides legal remedy should your property be damaged by your contractor or his employees.

 

 

7. Do you carry worker’s compensation insurance? 

  • Protects you from liability should workers be injured on your property.
  • See contractor’s proof of Worker’s Compensation insurance.
  • One-man operation must show you a certificate of exemption from Worker’s Compensation. Even so, this can get sloppy if they bring in helpers who don’t have Exemption Certificate.
  • To best protect yourself, go with a contractor who is fully covered.

 

8. Will you pull all the required building permits?

  • Not all contractors do this. They may ask you to do it. This is a red flag that they may not be able to pull permits, because they are not licensed, or work is outside of their license.
  • Permits ensure that a job will be done to code.
  • Many homeowners insurances require permits to keep their home covered.
  • A reputable contractor will permit every job where a permit is required.

 

9. Do you guarantee your work?

  • Expect a written guarantee or warranty for at least one year.
  • Expect two and three year warranties for certain types of projects like roofs.

 

10.  Do you have a plan or system for this type of project?

  • Ask about schedule- do they have one?
  • Ask about clean up

1.      Contractor should make honest attempt to contain dust and debris.

2.      Notify you when messy work is scheduled

3.      Has a plan and arrangement for dumpster and debris removal

 

  • Ask who will be in charge of the job.

1.      Is there an assigned lead? What is their background – sales or construction?

2.      When will they show up? Are they at every stage of the job?

3.      Oversees deliveries and sub-contractor work.

  • Ask about payment- how and when
  • Ask about fixed price or estimate- a very scary word
  • Ask for a written detailed proposal and timeline

 

 

So, use this list of questions as a starting point for the interview process.

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