10 Questions To Ask Your Contractor Before The Project Begins
Before jumping into a new home renovation project, it’s important to be on the exact same page as the contractor you just hired. Set the record straight by asking him or her these 10 questions.
1. HOW DO YOU PREFER TO COMMUNICATE?
A clear line of communication is crucial when working with anyone, especially when it comes to your house. With multiple modes of communication to choose from, you may think that your general contractor will check all of them religiously, but that may not be the case. You could be an email fanatic, while your contractor may be more reliable with phone communication. Check with them to see which form they prefer, and be sure to find out how to contact them during off business hours in case of emergencies. It’ll save you some headaches, and you’ll thank yourself later.
2. WHAT’S OUR TIMELINE?
A schedule doesn’t just lay out the start and end date of a project, it should also outline the day-by-day work as well as deadline dates for the various tasks that make up your home project or remodel. Having a clear yet detailed view of the process will allow you to see whether your project is on schedule or falling behind.
3. WHAT PRECAUTIONS WILL YOU TAKE TO PREVENT DAMAGE TO MY HOME AND BELONGINGS?
Make sure your contractor will take care to protect your various appliances and property. Ask them how they plan on protecting electronics and everyday appliances. Be sure to bring up suggestions and see if they have any better ways in mind.
4. WHO ARE YOUR SUBCONTRACTORS? WILL YOU BE HERE EVERYDAY OR WILL YOU BE USING A FOREMAN?
Just because you’ve found a licensed and insured contractor with good references doesn’t mean everyone on their team may be up to your standards. Ask for a list of everyone who’ll be working on your house and how each unit will be supervised. Be sure to vet your subcontractors with the same attention of detail you gave selecting your general contractor. If you have an issue with any of the subcontractors, be sure to voice your concerns to your general contractor.
5. HOW OFTEN WILL WE MEET AND WHAT TIME WILL I NEED TO BE AVAILABLE?
In addition to keeping clear lines of communication with your contractor, you’ll also want to have dedicated time on-site to be set aside for your project. Your general contractor may have several jobs going on at once, and you’ll want one-on-one attention to deal with any issues they may have forgotten. These should be brought up in the course of your normal communications. Don’t assume they’ll be able to see you at the drop of a hat; choose a set time to meet with them on a regular basis. There may also be specific dates when you will need to be present (i.e. selecting tile layout, marble patterns or facades).
6. ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC CONCERNS YOU HAVE WITH THIS PROJECT?
There may be potential electrical or plumbing complications your project could encounter. Ask your general contractor to talk you through any concerns they may have and be sure to ask them to elaborate if you’re having trouble understanding any of the details. Forewarned is forearmed.
7. CAN YOU PROVIDE ME WITH DOCUMENTATION?
You may imagine that after the work’s done, you’ll never touch your house again, but you should still ask for documentation. A list of work performed and a layout of the updated wiring, plumbing, or load-bearing systems will make your life easier and can save time if you ever do work on this part of your house again.
8. CAN YOU INFORM ME OF ANY CHANGES AND PROVIDE ME WITH A CHANGE ORDER?
No plan survives its infancy, and you’ll need a way to keep track of any changes your project will encounter. Requiring documentation and authorization for a change order will allow you to track expenses and protect yourself in case of any overrun. Make sure you understand their process. As mentioned above, documentation is key.
9. DO YOU OFFER ANY APPLIANCE DISCOUNTS?
If you’ve been thinking about replacing some home appliances (or your project is something like a bathroom or kitchen remodel), go ahead and ask your general contractor if they’ll offer any shopping discounts. They may be able to get a better price than you’d be able to get on your own. Even if they don’t, however, be sure to see if they’d be willing to pick up and install the appliances.
10. HOW LONG IS YOUR WARRANTY? HOW FLEXIBLE ARE YOU WITH IT?
Since you’ve already picked your contractor, chances are the work is warrantied. Be sure to find out how flexible your contractor is with the warranty’s time limit. You don’t want to find yourself high and dry one day after the warranty’s up.
The experts at Syler Custom Homes are happy to answer any questions you have about your home building or home renovation project. Contact us today!