A good contractor is key in any home renovation project. They are in charge of completely facilitating the entire project, which can help save you time and money. However, there are some definite things to ask before you actually sign the proposal with your contractor.
1. Regular Meetings
It is important for both the contractor and the homeowner to be available for meetings on occasion throughout the project. This is something you should determine up front before the work even begins. Develop an agreement over when you and your contractor are available to meet as well as how often meetings will occur.
Naturally, not all questions will develop during working hours. For those non-emergency occasions, you should have a way to leave him or her messages via email or text messages after normal business hours that they may retrieve the next day. Just like you, they do not work 24-7, and they probably have a family at home they would like to be with at the end of the day. However, in the event you do have an emergency, you should be able to reach your project manager or the person in charge of your project. For this reason, make sure you ask your contractor how to contact them after regular business hours. Your contractor should have the ability to contact you in after hours as well.
3. Making Decisions
Throughout the project, there will be plenty of decisions for you to make. Knowing when to make these decisions is important to keeping the project on schedule. This is another area you should discuss with your contractor before you sign the proposal.
It is uncommon for projects to go completely without hiccups. Sometimes changes must be made due issues uncovered during the demolition process, materials discontinued or back ordered, or you simply don’t like something after it is installed. Things happen and contractors understand that. It is important to discuss changes with your contractor and find out how they handle them. Changes should be documented in writing and a plan should be made in advance for any changes that may occur.
5. Project Concerns
No project will completely be finished without a few concerns. When a contractor first takes on a project, there are likely to be at least a handful of things they are not certain about. These things should be talked about in advance in order to determine what course of action to take if the original plan is not possible to be followed. For example, if you are planning on taking down a wall only to find out it isn’t possible, what will be the steps taken forward.
You will need to be able to communicate with your contractor throughout the course of the project. Whether this is to make certain decisions about the project, to learn of changes that must be made or in the case of an emergency, communication is important. Establish a communication plan up front to make sure everyone is on the same page.
7. Clean & Safe
Good housekeeping should be a priority for your contractor. They are an invited guest in your home and your home should be treated with respect. Every day that someone is working in your house, someone should be cleaning up. There are a lot of ways your contractor may control dust. Check out the article we wrote on “How to Control Dust During Remodeling“. You will also want to understand how your contractor will protect the area that is being renovated as well as the rest of your home before you sign the proposal. This could mean protecting your materials from theft, keeping your home safe from the weather, or even keeping other rooms of your home safe from damage while the project is being completed. This is a very important area to understand and you should be well aware of your contractor’s plans for keeping your home safe.
Along with learning about the safety of your home, you will want to talk to your contractor about the people who will be in your home on a day-to-day basis. Will they be employees of the contractor or subcontractors? Ask questions about who is responsible for supervising the workers as well as for the safety and protection of your home. You should also determine who you should talk to regarding questions you may have about the project from one day to the next.
Finally, ask your contractor about a schedule for completion. But, keep in mind that the schedule also should include more things than just a time to start and a time to finish. For example, you will want to understand more about the different phases your contractor will go through when completing the project. This will help you determine what to expect to be completed at specific times so you aren’t blindsided by a huge delay in completion of the project.
Before you even sign the proposal for your project, make sure you cover all of these areas of discussion with your contractor. They will help you ensure that everything goes according to plan and that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the project.
Make sure your contractor has workers comp. & liability insurance. This will come in handy if an accident happens while work is in progress.
Check out an article we wrote the “12 Home Remodeling Experts Share their # 1 Tip for Homeowners“. It’s got great advice from remodeling experts around the country. To learn more about how to work with great contractors, contact us today. Download our Ebook Remodeling 101, for more tips for working with contractors which help create an amazing project.