11 Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before Starting Any Project

If you’re ready to make an investment in your home with a home remodel, make sure you’re hiring a qualified professional by asking these quick questions. We’ve prepared 11 questions to set you up for success on your next remodeling project (Plus a free eBook you can walk through with your contractor).

  • Are you registered and insured?

    • The first thing to do with any new contractor is to make sure they’re registered and hold the appropriate liability and workman’s compensation insurance. If they don’t have the proper coverage and something goes wrong, you could end up on the hook for any damages. You can use these sites to verify your contractor’s license information:

Idaho: https://web.dbs.idaho.gov/etrakit3/Custom/Idaho_LicenseSearch.aspx

Washington: https://secure.lni.wa.gov/verify/

  • Have your past jobs been on budget and on time?

    • The last thing you want is to be out of a kitchen for weeks longer than you expected. Make sure your contractor provides you with a timeline for your job and is confident in the price estimate they’ve given you.

  • Do you pull the permits required for the job?

    • Quality contractors will ensure that their work is permitted by the city and that all work is done to (or above) code standards. A city inspector will visit your home and ensure permitted work is up to spec when the job is completed. If your contractor says they don’t submit permit requests you may want to look elsewhere.

  • Is there anything about my job that concerns you?

    • Your contractor should be upfront, honest, and straightforward about any potential issues with your job. Opening a dialogue with your contractor about any concerns you have will help you move forward with confidence. They should take your questions seriously, treat you and your home with respect, and show that they care about the work they do.

  • What will you do to keep my house clean while you remodel?

    • Dust protection should be part of the project scope. This can include partitioning off the work area with plastic, covering up heat and return air registers so you don’t ruin your furnace, daily clean-up, and even fresh air ventilation systems in some cases.

  • Who will be here every day? Can I trust your employees to be alone in my home?

    • Quality contractors will thoroughly vet all of their employees, making sure they are reliable and trustworthy. Your peace of mind and the safety of your home is valuable.

  • What is my home going to look like while you remodel?

    • You’ll want to know if your contractor will be storing tools or equipment on your property, if they will need to move furniture, hang up tarps, or do any demolition. Be sure to ask about the noise level in your home if it is a concern.

  • How will we communicate with each other?

    • A good construction company will answer the phone when you call them, and will let you know the best way to reach them and resolve any issues.

  • What kind of daily schedule can we expect while the remodel takes place?

    • You don’t want tradesmen showing up at all hours of the day. Agree ahead of time on working hours.

  • Do you offer a warranty for your work?

    • Rarely will you find this in writing in a remodel situation on the Palouse. However, reputable contractors will always back their work. Ask your contractor how he has handled warranty work in the past to find out how he might handle yours. If there is an actual defect in material or workmanship, a good contractor will likely take care of it even if it arises years later.

  • What are you going to do if something unexpected comes up?

    • Quality construction companies will stop the work, show you the issue, propose exactly what needs to be fixed, and will come to you with a change order. A change order is an agreement between you and your contractor for any additional work outside of the scope of the initial project. If your contractor tears down a wall for a bathroom remodel and finds mold and rotted wood, you want them to come to your right away with a solution to the problem vs hiding the defect or surprising you with additional costs at project end. Make sure they have a policy in place for change orders and will handle any issues promptly and respectfully.

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