If you’re preparing to have a home improvement project done, one of the most important things you can do is ask questions. Questions like “What are your qualifications?” and “How long have you been in business?” are obvious. Still, other questions even experienced contractors may not be prepared to answer. It’s important to ask these ten critical questions before hiring any contractor to know exactly what kind of service you’ll get.
Is your contractor licensed and insured?
Did you ask your contractor these ten critical questions?
If not, here’s what you should know:
Licensed contractors are required to carry insurance. This protects the homeowner and contractor from injuries and property damage during a project. When considering a specific company for your project, ensure they have current licenses and insurance policies before signing any dotted lines!
Is your contractor bonded?
Bonding is a requirement for some types of work. It protects the customer from losses due to the contractor’s failure to perform, and it also protects the contractor from losses due to the customer’s inability to pay. Bonding is not insurance but rather a promise by an insurance company that if something goes wrong with your project and you suffer damages. As a result, they’ll cover those costs for you until bonding limits are exhausted (and hopefully beyond).
Does the contractor belong to a trade association?
If you are looking for a tradesperson, it is important that they belong to a trade association. Trade associations provide lists of contractors who are part of the association. Membership in a trade association is a sign that the contractor is reputable and has met specific standards. Trade associations can also provide information on how to choose a contractor and what questions should be asked during the selection process.
Does the contractor have an open file with the Better Business Bureau?
While the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is not a government agency, it’s still a good place to check for reviews. The BBB has an A-F rating system and an online complaints database that can be searched by company name, location, and more.
If you are having trouble finding your contractor’s BBB rating or if they don’t have one, this is a red flag!
How long has the contractor been in business?
- How long has the contractor been in business?
The longer a contractor has been around, the more likely they will have learned from their mistakes and improved their business practices. If you’re looking for someone who will provide you with high-quality work and take care of your home, look for contractors with at least five years of experience under their belts–and ideally more than 10!*
- Have they ever had any complaints filed against them?
If no complaints are on file with your state’s consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau (BBB), consider yourself lucky! But if there are any negative reviews online about your potential contractor’s workmanship or customer service skills, don’t hesitate to ask questions about how those situations were resolved before signing anything.
What is the customer satisfaction rating for this contractor on sites such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Yelp?
You can check the contractor’s rating on Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Yelp. These sites are known for their unbiased reviews and provide excellent insight into how well a company performs in customer satisfaction.
To check these ratings, search for your contractor by name (or part of it) on each website and see their rating out of five stars. If they have any negative reviews, read them carefully to see if they’re legitimate complaints or just disgruntled customers who didn’t get what they wanted from the job.
For example, A recent customer wrote this review about our company “My experience with [us] was great! They were very friendly when I called them about my roofing needs.”
Can you provide references from other customers who can speak to their satisfaction with your service?
- You should be able to access the references easily.
- The contractor should be able to provide references from people who are not related to them or have previously worked with them.
- The contractor should also be able to provide references from people who have used them for similar work, so you know how well they do on different jobs and what customer service they offer.
And finally, make sure that all these customers are satisfied with the work done by your contractor!
What type of guarantee do you offer on workmanship and materials?
- How long is the guarantee?
- What does it cover?
- What’s the process for getting a claim approved and paid out?
Does your company offer any additional services, like cleaning related to construction projects (for example, vacuuming dust created during construction)?
You may want to hire a cleaning company to clean up after the project is complete. You might also need to hire a cleaning company to do it before, or both. It depends on what you’re comfortable with and how much time you have available in your schedule.
If all goes well, then no worries! But if there are any issues with your contractor or subcontractors (and there will be), this can cost even more money–and time–to remedy than if they had just done things correctly in the first place.
Make sure you ask these questions!
As a homeowner, you want to ensure that your contractor is the right fit for your project. To do this, it’s essential to ask the following questions:
- How do you describe your company culture?
- What are your vision for success five years and ten years from now?
- What are some examples of how you’ve helped other customers achieve their goals and solve problems (without just listing off projects)?
- What does success mean for our team members every day–for example: “We’re successful when…”
- What makes us different from other firms or individuals who offer similar services as ours (or even worse)?
- And finally: Why should I choose [YOUR COMPANY NAME] over another option available today?
Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas for the questions to ask your contractor. If you’re still unsure about what to ask, we recommend checking out Angie’s List or Home Advisor for reviews from past customers. You can also search for contractors in your area on these sites!