Eight things you need to ask a contractor

1. Are you licensed to work in this state and your trade classification? All states handle their contractor license requirements differently. Get the contractor’s license number and do an internet search such as: (type in your state) “check on contractor license”. Look for a .gov url which will take you to the appropriate web site where you can check to see if a contractor is currently licensed and any citations against the contractor. Most states do not allow someone else to use another contractor’s license, except under certain conditions. Read thru all the consumer information to acquaint yourself of your rights. Most states now require a criminal background check before issuing a license.

2. Can you provide three references. This is where homeowners fail the most. References should weigh very heavily in the decision making process. Do not treat this area lightly. Do your due diligence or you may find yourself the victim of an incompetent or unscrupulous contractor. Get a reference that the contractor is currently working with.

3. What is your experience level. What type projects have you completed and how many years have you worked as a contractor. Have you done kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, basement remodels, room additions.

4. Insurance coverage. Do not sign a contract until you have a current copy of their general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. If they do not have insurance then you will be libel for workmen’s accidents and property damage.

5. Who will be the lead man or foreman on the job. Always know who is in charge on the job site and always have phone numbers for these people

6. How much of the work will be subcontractors. Most contractors use subcontractors. General contractors may sub out all the work with a foreman directing them or some hybrid where the foreman and company employees complete some or all the work. The situation varies widely. Having strangers in your home can disrupt your normal routines. Be prepared for it. This is why it is so important that your project be planned out thoroughly in advance so it can be completed in a judicious manner.

7. Will the foreman be on the job everyday. Only on very large jobs will the foreman be at the job site every day, except in cases where the “person in charge” is also physically working in the construction phases.

8. What type of disruption will there be to the home. Most homeowners will be home during the construction. Ask how the contractor will plan and schedule the work. What are the work hours? What will be done to prevent dust? Address any safety concerns.

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