Friday, 12 September 2014

Questions to Ask a Remodeling Contractor

When interviewing potential home remodeling contractors, the first questions that spring to a homeowner’s mind are usually “When will you start? When will you finish the job? How much will it cost?” These are all important issues but they are far from being enough. As a homeowner you want to be sure that you are getting the best people for remodeling your home. Starting when you want, finishing on schedule and sticking to a budget are great, but they do not mean that the remodeling will be done properly or the way you want.

As the client you have the right to know all that is relevant to your home remodel. That means that you are entitled to ask any questions and get all the information that you need to enable you to choose the contractor who you think is right for the job. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (the industry association of the remodeling industry) has a list of questions that a homeowner should ask a contractor before giving him the project.

The Important Questions
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Who will be the project supervisor, what is his experience and how long has he / she been working for you?
  • Will the people working on the project be employees or sub-contractors?
  • Are you bonded and insured. Specifically, do you have liability and worker’s compensation insurance? Verify the answers you receive by contacting the insurance company. An insurance certificate may appear to be valid, but how do you know if either party has cancelled the policy?
  • Check if your state requires the contractor to be licensed. If so, ask to see the license and also call up and confirm that the license has not be revoked for any reason.
  • How will you approach this kind of project? Ask for details of how the contractor plans to organize resources and carry out work.
  • What are the milestones on which adherence to schedules will be evaluated?
  • How many similar projects have you done in the last year?  Ask details to verify that they are similar to yours.
  • Ask for a list of references. Reference that you will not be able to contact, whatever the reason, is a warning sign.
  • Will it be possible for me to have a look at a couple of the nearby projects you have done? This may be difficult – a homeowner may not like to have strangers walking around his home.
  • How much of your business is repeat and how much comes by way of referrals? The higher the percentage the better. It shows that clients are happy with the work done for them.
  • Are you a member of a trade association and if so, which one?
  • Have you and your employees received any special training in home remodeling?
  • Do you, your employees and sub-contractors have special certification such as Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS) or Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) or Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (CKBR)?

Beyond the Questions

Getting the right answers is important, but so too is the attitude of the contractor. If he shows any resentment about the questions asked or tries to avoid giving direct answers, there could be something wrong. As in all interviews, often what is not said is as important as what is.


Your home remodeling contractor is going to be a part of your life every day for a long time. He will have free run of your home. It is important that you are comfortable with the person whom you choose to remodel you home.

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