Before jumping into a home renovation project headfirst, we encourage you to take some time to vet potential home renovation companies. After all, you don’t want to entrust your home to just anyone. You want to be sure you, your family, your home, and your money are in good hands.
13 Smart Questions to Ask Home Remodeling Contractors
As you interview a potential contractor, be sure to ask basic questions like these:
Question 1: How long have you been part of this industry?
You want to find a company that has enough experience to have a solid list of references for you to check, which you should definitely ask for. Let people learn the ropes on someone else’s house. Not yours!
Question 2: May I see your qualifications?
A contracting license and certificate of insurance is a must for your peace of mind.
Question 3: Do you cover your employees with workman’s comp insurance?
The company you hire should carry the burden of liability in case a worker gets hurt, not you.
Question 4: Will you pull any necessary permits for the job?
The correct answer is, “Yes, we will handle that.”
Question 5: What is the projected timeline for this project?
Be sure they are willing to commit to a specific period of time. But don’t stop there! Ask a few more questions like:
- If changes must occur, what is the procedure to handle those changes?
- Are you willing to sign a “time and materials” contract?
- How often do you finish your projects on time? (Then verify their answer with the references they supply.)
Question 6: What will the payment timeline look like?
Potential contractors should never ask you for the entire amount of all of the home renovation costs upfront. If they do, that is a major red flag. But there should be an appropriate payment schedule that is disclosed in the beginning.
Question 7: Who will the project manager be and how will they manage the project?
It’s good to know who your point of contact will be for your home remodel from the beginning. That person should be onsite each day to make sure everything goes according to plan, giving you updates daily.
Ask about the best way to get in touch with my point of contact. And inquire as to how long you should generally expect a response to take.
Also, ask if you will have a dedicated team to work on your project. If you won’t, you may want to check on how many other projects they are involved with as this could delay your project.
Question 8: What subcontractors will be used?
If the remodeling project will involve other subcontractors, find out who they will be. And more importantly, ask if they are covered by the contractor’s liability and worker’s comp insurance. Verify the qualifications the subcontractors will have, as well.
Question 9: What will the workday look like in my home?
If you are living in the house while the renovation is going on (and if you have pets who will be in the home), you’ll need to know critical information like:
- What time will construction begin and end each day? (You want them to say specific set times and days each week.)
- How much noise should you expect?
- When do you, the homeowner, need to be there and when would it be best for you to be away?
- What will the restroom arrangement be for the workers?
- Where will tools and materials be stored overnight during construction?
- How do they plan to protect your property, safety, and possessions?
Question 10: Do you offer a warranty on services or materials?
The only answer you want to hear for this question is, “Yes.” Be sure to check out the details.
Question 11: How will unforeseen changes and costs be handled?
Unexpected expenses may arise. Don’t be blindsided. Be sure there is a solid plan in place.
Question 12: How do we resolve any conflict that may arise?
A company should have a thoroughly prepared process in place for handling disagreements in the written formal contract. Be sure their terms are something you can live with. We encourage homeowners to ask for a termination clause in case either the owner or the contractor wants to get out of the contract without penalty.
Question 13: What legal disputes have you experienced in past jobs?
While this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Honesty is the important thing. Check the company’s response against the Better Business Bureau to be sure you know all that you need to know.
Deeper questions for a potential renovation contractor
There are deeper level questions to ask depending on your renovation project, once you are satisfied with a company’s answers to the basic questions. Dig to find out the details on issues like:
- Does this company fit your style and taste?
- What kind of projects do they work on, do they have experience in the type of work you are interested in?
- What kind of staff do they have? We cover this in more detail in this post.
If you want to know more about truly evaluating the right contractor for your remodel, see Home Design and Remodelling: Who Should You Hire?
The 5 main types of home renovation companies
If you want to do an old home renovation, you have a buffet of options when it comes to home remodeling contractors from which to choose. Let’s take a quick look at what each type specializes in just to get you acquainted with your options, shall we?
Most contractors only handle the building part of home additions and remodeling. You will likely need your own architect or drafting and design firm to provide professional home design services before the building project starts.
Then the contractor converts the designs from drafters drawings into a tangible house remodel that you can enjoy for many years to come.
A remodeling contractor or homeowner may hire out a subcontractor to handle specialty work. For example, your general contractor may contact plumbers, roofers, marble countertop installers, HVAC specialists, electricians, and others to handle specific aspects of the work.
Residential remodeling contractors
These workers may specialize in building, not designing. They generally do interior renovations like kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Large-scale projects involving major structural changes like moving walls or beams are not their cup of tea.
These companies work extensively with insurance companies to fix damage after storms, fire, and water damage. They don’t do upgrades on homes, they simply replace what was lost to make the home equal to what it was before the damage.
They have a very specific niche and don’t handle anything else. So unless you have an insurance claim due to a disaster of some type at your house, they are not a good fit for you.
Design-build or whole house remodeling
Design-build companies handle major home remodeling projects from start to finish including architecture and design—as well as construction. This is the highest tier of home remodeling with a whole team of experienced professionals at your service.
There is a great deal of value in having close communication and teamwork between your designers/drafters/architects and your contractors/builders. Choosing a company that has designers and drafters on staff who have experience working with contractors makes a huge difference during the building process. It prevents misunderstandings, complications, setbacks, and migraines for your team, and most importantly, for you!
Keep in mind that if you are renovating a historic home, you will need a contractor that specializes in the nuances of this niche.
At Phase One, our design team includes experienced contractors
At Phase One, we guide you in finding the best vision to transform your current home into your forever home. One you will love for the rest of your life. When you partner with us, we ensure that you receive the best possible designs for your home remodel. One that your contractor can actually build without any hassles.
When we walk you through the design process, you have the plans your contractor needs to make your dreams come true.
Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.
We won’t rest until you absolutely adore your new home renovation plans.