10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CONTRACTOR:
What should you ask before hiring a contractor? Start with these questions:
1. How much experience do you have?
Get informed about the contractor's background and ask for a list of references.
2. Are you insured?
You never know what can happen on a job site,
both to your home and to the contractors involved. Make sure the
contractor is insured.
3. Do you have a contractor license?
All contractors should be
licensed unless they are a handyman. Don't make exceptions here unless
you want to put your most valuable asset (your home) at risk.
4. How long will the project take?
For a Bathroom or a Kitchen, 5 days is usually sufficient. Of course this depends on the size of the project. IE; small bathroom vs. master bathroom with a walk in shower, etc.
5. How much will my project cost and what will it include?
is probably the most important question to ask, but not for the reasons
you may think. THE CHEAPEST IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST. Ask what the cost includes and really grill the contractor on it.
Make sure to get a final bid on the project before moving forward to
make sure you are getting what you need at the agreed upon price.
6. Do you have examples of past projects I can look at?
contractors have a portfolio of projects they have worked on. You
should ask to see pictures of past projects to gauge their work.
7. How many workers will be helping on this project?
It is good
to know how many people will be working on the project not only to
understand costs, how long the project will take, and the size of the
project, but also to know how many people will be in and around your
8. Where do you get your materials/products from and what brands do you work with?
Contractors can add charges on the material side of things, so make
sure you ask where they get their materials to ensure they are quality
and priced right. If the job is a time and material job, you may want to keep track of material bought; ask for
receipts. Also, you may have specific brands that you want to use, so
make sure your contractor knows how to work with them.
9. What is the best way to contact you and will you provide regular updates?
This question is to figure out whether or not the contractor will be
responsive and work with you. The last thing you want is a contractor
that won't take your calls and reply to your emails, leaving you with a
half done project.
10. Do you have a standard contract?
Don't take anyone's word.
Get everything related to your project in writing and have it signed by
both parties. This will protect you in the unlikely event you have any problems.
AND REMEMBER FOLKS, BUYING THE MATERIALS YOURSELF, DOES NOT SAVE YOU MONEY. IT CAN CAUSE YOU A MAJOR HEADACHE. BECAUSE IF YOU BUY YOUR OWN MATERIALS, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL WARRANTIES. NOT YOUR CONTRACTOR. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOUR TOILET BREAKS AFTER 1 YEAR, AND THERE IS A 2 YEAR WARRANTY, AND YOU SUPPLIED THE TOILET, YOU WILL HAVE TO REMOVE AND REPLACE IT YOURSELF, OR HIRE A PLUMBER. IF YOUR CONTRACTOR SUPPLIED THE TOILET, HE IS RESPONSIBLE. NJ STATE LAW DICTATES THIS. THAT IS WHY ALLOT OF CONTRACTORS PREFER TO GIVE YOU A LABOR ONLY PRICE. IT ELIMINATES THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. DON'T GET SUCKERED INTO THAT COMMON MISTAKE. THAT IS WHY CONTRACTORS GET A DISCOUNT ON MATERIALS, TO PAY FOR THE WARRANTY RESPONSIBILITY, NOT FOR PROFIT.