What are the questions I should ask potential contractors?
When a group of NARI remodeling contractors were asked what questions homeowners asked most frequently, the group unanimously agreed that their most popular queries were:
- When can you start?
- When will you be finished?
- What time will you knock on my door each morning?
- What time will you quit for the day?
- Are you going to work everyday?
- Can you finish before (insert any major holiday or significant family event)?
- How much will it cost per square foot.
Unfortunately, these are not the type of questions that are going to tell you much about a particular contractor. While a reasonable timetable and budget is important, it shouldn’t be the primary focus of an interview or a job. Homeowners should also focus on trust and quality.
Start by asking questions about a company’s business practices and experience in a similar type of project. Here are some questions NARI members recommend you ask before signing a remodeling contract:
- How long have you been in business?
- Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job?
- Who will be working on the project? Are they employees or subcontractors?
- Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance? (Always verify this information by calling the agency)
- How many similar projects have you completed in the past year?
- May I have a list of reference from those projects?
- May I have a list of business referrals or suppliers?
- What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?
- Are you a member of a national trade association?
- Have you or your employees been certified in remodeling or had any special training or education, such as earning a Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS) or Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) or Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (CKBR) designation?
It is important to note that your remodeler will be a part of your daily life and available for on-the-job education about your project. You should feel very comfortable asking any question seeking clarification on any points or issues you don’t understand. Take time to carefully select a remodeler with whom you feel comfortable with and one that you can ask lots of questions.
Remodeling can be a fun experience with great rewards. Educate yourself, go into the project with a full understanding of the work required, and hire a NARI professional!