The Contractor Conundrum

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By George DeMare, Vice President Business Development

 

When starting a remodel or building project, how should a homeowner go about choosing the correct contractor? Ensure the right fit by interviewing general contractors beyond the basics.

Here are ten questions to help you make the final decision.

 

How is the contractor’s company structured?

Know who owns the company and who is responsible for what. This will give an idea of the company’s capacity to handle projects.

 

Who from the contractor’s company will be at my house each day?

Understanding staffing helps a homeowner get a handle on job security and how much attention their project will receive.

 

 How does the contractor handle scheduling?

This covers how the contractor schedules staff/subcontractors and how the schedule is communicated to the homeowner. Having a task-based scheduled sets timeline expectations.

 

Is this project the kind you like to do?

The answer will indicate if the project is larger or smaller than what the company typically handles.

 

What about materials?

Discuss who orders building materials up front and if the homeowner can do part of the work. Be clear and careful about what the contractor is finishing.

 

What do you subcontract?

Know what work the contractor will do with their own staff and what will be done with subcontractors.

 

How many projects do you have going at one time?

The more employees a company has, the more projects it can complete simultaneously.

 

What can I expect at the end of the project in the way of paperwork and lien releases?

The final paperwork usually includes lien releases, final permit sign-offs, and some warranty information.

 

Do you have concerns about the plans or think something might be a problem?

This gives immediate feedback about the project’s possibilities and if there are any concerning aspects.

 

Who will communicate with me once the project starts?

Understanding how information about the project is handed from one employee to another is important. Know how they work and compare with others to find a system that best works for the homeowner’s needs.