By Claire Spahr
Hiring a contractor is awesome. Seeing work get done that you didn’t have to do yourself… amazing! It can also get pretty stressful when you’re up against a deadline and unexpected delays come up, or when you have to sacrifice your days to wait around to meet with city inspectors because the contractors you hired “don’t do that,” or when you have to take on the role of project manager because their subs are unreliable.
Here is a list of questions that I have put together for my next contractor interview… feel free to use or alter… and… let me know which questions you find the most helpful!
- Can you please me about your experience in this industry?
- I would love to see some samples of your work and call some of your past clients. May I have a list of references?
- Have you done <insert name of this particular project> before?
- Will you please itemize your quote?
- Is this quote an estimate or a fixed price?
- I would like to shop for the supplies with you and pay for them myself at the store, will this work for you? I find it’s educational for me in case I need to make repairs in the future and I would like the option of returning unused supplies.
- May I have a copy of your contractor’s license and insurance policy?
- What is the timeline that you believe we should anticipate for this project? I completely understand that delays happen and mistakes are made from time to time. What is your policy when a project delay is caused by your company?
- What is your goal with the completion of each job? (Listen for any talk of referrals. Any business owner who is focused on earning referral business is likely to bend over backwards if necessary to make sure that you are happy and you love them. Commercial alert: I know this because it’s how I run my own business.)
- How frequently are your projects completed on time?
- How many people will be working on the project and what days and hours will they be working?
- Do you carry worker’s comp for your employees?
- Who will be on site to oversee the progress of the job? How often will you stop by to check on progress?
- I’d like to go over the payment schedule.
- Thank you! I’d also like to go over the project schedule, i.e. what are the steps involved? What has to be completed in order to move to the next step? At what point do city inspectors get involved?
- Will you be present to meet with city inspectors?
- I’m assuming that this price included cleanup, correct?
- Will you be putting down any protective covering for my <new carpet, hardwood floor, beautiful tile, etc.>.
- Normally I need all of my expenses documented, but if you are open to giving me a discount then I am open to paying cash. What do you think about that? (If they are wanting cash then that means that they are probably taking a risk by not reporting that income. That is their choice, not yours. Do not accept less than a 10% discount.)
- If you are selling the property: Are you open to accepting payment at closing? (You have to work up to this one and build trust before anyone is going to be willing to consider this arrangement.)
- Tell me about your guarantees.
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