How To Interview a Home Remodeling Contractor
Unless you remodel on a regular basis, which is rarely the case for homeowners, preparing for that initial consultation could prove challenging. Posing the right questions to your slate of contractor candidates is your best way to determine the best fit. So think beyond “Do you have references?” Step into your consult with questions that can garner the best insight.
Ensuring the right fit with your contractor doesn’t just secure a better outcome. It also makes the entire process run more smoothly. But this will involve an equal amount of give and take. While the contractor will certainly hold the spotlight, your ideas and plans should be a priority as well. Take time to discuss the changes you’d like and have a description at hand. An initial consult is a great opportunity to also address what to expect in terms of impact on the family’s lifestyle during the project. This will help you to have realistic expectations.
Once you’ve walked through your ideas, ask contractors about their interest level in your project. Listen for their enthusiasm and authenticity. By seeing through their politeness, you’re best able to pinpoint the contractor who cares about craftsmanship, creativity, and the ultimate success of your project, specifically. Ask, too, what they would do differently if this were their home. As they improve homes for a living, they are often able to provide helpful new approaches to make a job more cost-efficient, expedient, or convenient.
When you’re enthusiastic about a renovation, which you should be, it’s easy to overlook considerations that, down the road, you’ll wish you’d asked. In particular, will this individual personally perform the work or will it be referred to employees or subcontractors? If the latter, how long have they worked with those companies or individuals? Then determine to what extent they’ve worked together successfully.
You’ll also want to find out if the job would be completed on consecutive days, or scheduled alongside other projects, which could prove frustrating. And finally, who will pull permits? Note that a homeowner should almost never pull their own permits. (Learn more about who should obtain permits HERE.)