What Information Should I Get From a Contractor?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Starting a home remodeling project can be overwhelming. If you are living in the house and are thinking of moving out during the renovation, your stress levels can rise even more. In any case, no matter how large or small your project is, knowing you are working with the right contractor can make all the difference in how the project is managed, whether it will be done within your budget, and the results you’ll get.

To get the peace of mind you seek and be assured that you are working with the ideal contractor, here are some questions you should ask before getting started.

Are you licensed and insured?

It is not unusual to ask this question of a prospective contractor. Ask to see their license, registration, and insurance. You want to confirm that your contractor has gone through all the channels needed to get any required certification. You also want to make sure to work with someone who carries both liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

How long have you been doing this?

You want to find someone who has experience, particularly in the task you need done. If you are doing a new kitchen, ask if this is within their area of expertise and ask to see pictures of previous projects. Talk about the project itself and make sure you are satisfied with their answers.

What would be your timeline for completion?

Having a clear picture of when the contractor plans to start and finish the project is key for any homeowner. Ask them how many other projects they are working on simultaneously and how they plan to work around them to avoid affecting your schedule. If they are committed to too many projects at this time, it might be better for you to wait a while before starting. Talk about this possibility so that you avoid future stress.

What about permits and inspections?

You want to know if your project requires any special permits or inspections and whether they would get these for you. You also want to find out how much those permits cost and whether they would pull them for you. Knowing how much they cost is important because they might impact your budget.

Do you clean up at the end of each day?

If you are particular about cleanliness and having construction debris around will drive you crazy, it is important to clear this up with your contractor before the project takes off. Find out when trash will be removed, where it will be disposed of, and whether surfaces that have gotten dusty will be wiped down during construction. After all, if you are only remodeling a section of your home and living in the rest, you want your life to be disrupted as little as possible.

How will additional charges be handled?

Nowadays, contractors are able to provide their clients with pretty accurate estimates thanks to both technology and their years of experience. Still, Tile & Renovation knows that home improvement is unpredictable, especially once the project is underway and issues crop up. So talk about how these unexpected costs will be communicated and specify that you need to approve any changes before moving forward.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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