This week, we’d like to offering suggestions on questions to ask someone who has had work performed by the contractor you’re considering hiring so that you’re able to make the most educated decision possible on whether or not the contractor is a good fit for your project. One of the biggest pointers we can offer is to ask open-ended questions that require an explanation, not just a “yes” or “no” answer. Here are our top picks for questions:
Can you tell me about the work performed? This allows the reference to tell you about the nature of the work performed. Ideally, you want to speak with someone whohad that same type of job that you’re having done. Just because a contractor has installed siding on hundreds of properties since their company’s inception does not mean they are a good fit to remodel your kitchen.
Did you encounter additional costs outside of your original quote and were you okay with how they were handled? Sometimes unexpected costs come up in the middle of your project. If demolition commences and mold or asbestos are discovered, they will need to be removed; oftentimes this is difficult to anticipate and the homeowner is responsible for the cost. However, be wary if the homeowner indicates that the contractor came back on numerous occasions to ask for additional funds for items that should have been included in the initial bid, it may indicate that the contractor provided a lowball estimate in order to get the work.
Were you able to communicate effectively with the contractor? In order for a home improvement project to go as smoothly as possible, it’s crucial that the homeowner be kept in the loop on the project’s progress. It’s also good to know whether the homeowner was able to ask questions and get answers in a timely manner.
Are you happy with the final result and would you hire them again? Don’t neglect to ask this. While there may have been a few bumps along the way, was the end result something the homeowner was happy with and would they entrust any future work to this contractor? If the homeowner is in close proximity to you, they may even allow you to view the actual work.
Did the project fall within the allotted timeline? Why or why not? Certain things can be out of a contractor’s control. If a homeowner selects a custom made product, such as a light fixture or countertop and the supplier has it on back order, this falls outside of the realm of the contractor’s control. However, if the project falls behind the allotted time frame due to short workdays on the contractor’s part, this is an entirely different matter.
Was the job site kept clean and safe? One man’s job site is another man’s home. In that spirit, it’s important that your home be treated with respect and kept safe and as clean as possible for everyone that lives there.
Were subcontractors used and were you happy with their work? Oftentimes, a contractor will need to bring in a subcontractor, such as a plumber or electrician. Verify that the homeowner was pleased with their work as well because the contractor does have control over who they hire to complete this type of work.
What type of warranty were you provided with and have you had to use it? Contractors should stand behind the work they perform with a warranty. Find out what type of warranty the reference was provided, if it was in writing and if they have had to use it. If so, were there any issues getting the contractor to stand behind their work?