7 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Contractor
Building a home is a big investment…
and after years of designing them, we’ve learned that it can be hard to find good information about how to navigate the process, especially when it comes to finding the right people for the job.
We’ve been lucky to work with a lot of great General Contractors on our projects, and if you’ve seen our Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover, you might remember us collaborating with the team at Killowen Construction.
After receiving quite a few questions about finding the right team, we decided to ask our General Contractor, Tyler Farell, owner of Killowen Construction, what he would ask before signing a build contract.
Straight from the source, here are seven things you should ask before hiring a general contractor:
No. 1: Are they licensed and insured?
While many people don’t ask their contractors if they are licensed and insured, it’s essential to know before you get started.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of contractors that are not licensed and insured. Although hiring an un-licensed and insured contractor might save you money upfront, if something in the project goes wrong and the contractor is not licensed and insured, any damage or misstep is the homeowner’s responsibility.
With an investment as significant as your home, it’s imperative to have as much information as you can about your contractor’s qualifications.
No. 2: How many projects are they currently working on?
While there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to this one, it’s nice to know how many projects your contractor will be working on in unison with yours.
If they are working on a lot, it’s important that they have a large enough team to support those projects. Otherwise, your home is more likely to be put on the backburner.
No. 3: What is their role in the project?
While every contractor and builder operate differently, asking your General Contractor what their role is in the project will give you more insight. Whether they are in the day-to-day tasks or focusing on budgeting, scheduling, and training, the most important thing is that there is enough organization for the project to run smoothly.
No. 4: What does the daily site management look like?
If your General Contractor is not on-site, make sure to ask what the daily site management looks like while he is away. Typically, when someone manages the sub-contractors on the job, the project timeline is more likely to stay on schedule.
No. 5: Referrals from clients, vendors, and subcontractors
Asking for client referrals from your General Contractor will help give you a good idea of how they have worked on past projects and how they work with their clients.
However, if you can talk to their vendors and sub-contractors, you’ll be able to get an even more clear picture of their works style. Plus, it’s nice to be familiar with who else you’ll be working with!
No. 6: What is their typical timeline and budget per square foot?
According to Tyler, if your contractor is telling you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If your contractor has worked on a home like yours before, chances are, they have a good idea of their budget and timeline per square foot.
While timeline and budget are subject to change with finish changes, if you can establish an estimate with your team up front, you should be in control of how much you add from there.
No. 7: How do they communicate with their clients?
This question can be more experimental, but a same-day response from a General Contractor, even if they don’t have the answer yet, is a good sign that they are on top of things. Setting an expectation upfront of how you expect to communicate with your contractor is a great way to start the relationship off right. After all, you will be working together for quite some time!
Please consider a new department in your company…home plans! It would be so cool to be able to build a McGee and Co. crafted home. It’s obvious, judging by your own build, that you guys have more than just interior design talent. You have a knack for knowing what’s functional when it comes to walls, windows, kitchens, doors, trim, etc., etc. Just a suggestion. 😉
While we are in the 2nd phase of planning an addition & exterior work, these questions are perfect timing! I will be adding these to my notebook. Thank you!
I wish Killowen Construction was near us. They would be the 1st company I would call.
It really helped when you talked about general contractors and how they must be licensed. Recently, my wife and I decided we want to renovate our house, and we’d like to start our project as soon as possible. We think we need to find a contractor to help us, so we’ll be sure to check out your tips. Thanks for the advice on contractors and how you need to review their qualifications before hiring one.