Choosing the right contractor for your remodeling project may not be an easy and straightforward process as it may sound. There’s a lot of financial and emotional stress to deal with vis-à-vis quality and timeliness of the task. Therefore, screening potential contractors and evaluating the supplies they plan to use in your remodel is extremely important. Your choice of a contractor has the potential to make or break the entire project. The selection process doesn’t have to be that hard; you just have to be specific in your contract, conduct a little bit of research of your own, and most importantly, ask the right questions. Here is a list of questions to ask a contractor to help you decide if they are the right fit for the job.
How Many Similar Projects Have You Done Before?
Working with a professional who specializes in the provision of services you seek is crucial. Inquiring about the number of similar projects a contractor has worked on in the past year is a sure way to know if you are not dealing with a person who dabbles in every other project. You will also be able to establish the level of experience and expertise they have handling these types of projects. The fact that a company specializes in the sale of seal coating doesn’t make them experts at installing gutters. To get the best services, you’ve got to dig deeper. This is one of the most important questions to ask a contractor before commencing on the project.
Any Projects You Have Completed Locally?
It is always a good idea to go for a local contractor. A local contractor is a safer bet than a person who will be making daily commutes from a nearby town or city and many property managers in San Antonio will agree. Additionally, if the contractor provides his/her services locally, they sure do have a reputation to maintain. They will strive to do a good job, plus they also a have a network of suppliers and subcontractors in town. Ask for two of their first clients to ascertain their experience levels and a business card with an address.
How Much Will The Project Cost?
The answer to this question will give you a basis for your budget. Make sure you get the total cost of the project in writing from all the contractors you talk to. Higher costs don’t necessarily translate to better services and vice versa. However, significantly lower costs could mean poor planning and there may be additional costs in between the remodeling process. A lower quote may also mean that the contractor will be using sub-standard material to remodel your house.
Is Your Bid a Fixed Price or an Estimate?
When you get an answer to your question on how much the project will cost, you shouldn’t forget to follow up with a question on whether the said amount is fixed or a rough estimate. It is good to have this information with you to avoid creating a budget only to have the contractor ask for more money. You can specifically ask for a fixed amount if it’s possible. The contractor may try to avoid giving you a fixed amount because of too many unknowns in the project. You can try to eliminate the unknowns as much as possible.
Can You Itemize Your Bid?
If you do manage to get a fixed price for the project, ask the contractor to itemize it. Most contractors will just give you a number without letting you know what amount will go towards the completion of what task. If you don’t want to be left in the dark about the costs of all aspects of your project, ask for a list of various elements of the project and their associated costs. For instance, ask for itemized cost of the erection of a drywall and its painting, lighting fixtures, floor installations such as tiles, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work.
Are You Insured, Licensed and Bonded?
Besides making sure that the contractor is licensed, you should ask them for a copy of their insurance to see the type coverage they carry and how much. Though many contractors have insurance, they may not have sufficient coverage. It is important to know that should an accident occur during the remodeling, the contractor has sufficient liability insurance to cover any damage that may not be covered under other forms of insurance you have and the entire crew. Make sure that the contractor and his/her subcontractors carry a sufficient amount of workers compensation coverage.
To guarantee the coverage of your specific project, ask for a general liability certificate from the contractor’s insurer and make sure it has your name and address on it. Ask to see their license. In most states, contractors are required to register in order to be able to conduct business. Obtaining the contractor’s license number will help you find out if they have been involved in any legal issues before and verify if they are legitimate. If the contractor is bonded, this means that you are fully protected should they fail to pay their workers and permits, or if they fail on your project.
Who Are Your Main Suppliers?
Find out the contractor’s main suppliers and use that information to establish the quality of their work as well as their reliability. You can do this by talking to the contractor’s proprietors of lumber yards, bath and kitchen showrooms, and tile shops. This is extremely easy to accomplish since contractors work with a network of suppliers. If he/she is an upstanding customer, your contractor shouldn’t have any problems sharing where he/she gets the materials. If you work for a property management company in San Antonio, this part should be easy as you already know the area.
When you visit any of these establishments, ask if your contractor is someone you’d want to hire. Can you rely on him to pay his bills? Inquire about his previous customers. If there is a huge trail of unhappy customers behind him, he/she’s probably not very good at his/her job. Using a contractor’s reputation is a good method of evaluating his/her capabilities.