Making improvements on your home is important for a number of reasons. For one thing, you have to invest in upkeep. Not only does your roof need to be in solid and sturdy condition, but your exterior paint and panels need to be updated too. If you don’t maintain your home, the property value may plummet. If you are planning on making updates or improving your home, you will need to hire a home improvement contractor. Before hiring a contractor, though, you need to make sure that you ask a number of important questions. These questions will ensure that you get the most out of the contractor and out of the money you intend on spending. Here are five questions to ask before hiring a home improvement contractor.
- Do you have references? Asking for references is critical, because you don’t want to go with a contractor that doesn’t have any. A contractor not having references should raise some red flags. Moreover, you don’t want to go with a contractor that has negative remarks, which is why you want to speak with each reference contact personally.
- Do you have a timeline? It is also imperative that you ask for a timeline for when the project will be done. When it comes down to it, you may get a few responses. The response you don’t want to get, though, is a definitive one. If a contractor says that they can get the project done in exactly three weeks, you can pretty much assume that they aren’t telling the truth. Ideally, you want to get an estimate – three to six weeks is more realistic, because anything can set the schedule back.
- Do you have insurance? In the contracting world, it is important to have an insurance policy that protects the client and the contracting company. If a contractor doesn’t have insurance, you may be dealing with an unprofessional contractor. This is another red flag. You can ask your contractor if he or she has insurance and you can ask what the company is. You can then do your research online to make sure the insurance company is legitimate.
- Do you itemize your bid? Most contractors, like Puget Services, will offer an itemized bid. When you ask for the cost of everything, you will usually get a breakdown based on materials, workers and other costs. The last thing you want is to get a simple number that covers everything – this just isn’t how it is done in the construction and contracting world. Ideally, you want the contractor to spend some time putting together the bid and it should be broken down in a clear fashion.
- Do you have main suppliers? On top of everything, you also want to ask who some of your contractor’s main suppliers are. Everything from wood to metal to plumbing to construction unions – you want to have a list of everything. This will ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate contractor and that all the suppliers are legitimate too. In the end, you don’t want to be stiffed and you don’t want your time to be wasted either.