HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?
The length of time that someone has been in the business, may not strictly be the same thing as the length of time that they have been in their own business.
So, if someone has only been working for themselves or in their own company for a short time, but has ten years (checkable) work history working for other companies, this is encouraging.
Find out the experience level of the person you are thinking of hiring and don’t be shy of asking them questions.
A reputable contractor will welcome your questions and answer them honestly.
CAN I SEE YOUR INSURANCE CERTIFICATE?
It is not enough to simply ask of your contractor if they are insured. You should check to see the actual certificates themselves.
This way, you can make sure that they have both the liability insurance and the workers’ compensation that they need for the job they are doing.
And it does need to be insurance for the specific job you are asking them to do – not some other task altogether.
WHAT ABOUT THE INSPECTIONS AND PERMITS?
Although not every job will need a permit, or an inspection, there is a good chance that your home remodel or extension is going to require it.
Therefore, you should check that the contractor you choose knows about all the procedures that need to be undertaken, before the project can get off the ground. And also, that they are happy to do all the work on this score, to make sure everything is legal and above board.
HAVE YOU A CONTRACTING LICENSE?
Depending on which state, or city, you live in, your contractor will most likely need to obtain a license of some description to undertake your job.
But you need to make sure that they are licensed to operate in the trade that you specifically want them for. In other words, you want to check that your prospective roofer is licensed in roofing and not, for example, carpentry.
Don’t mix this up with a business license – that on its own does not prove anything, when it comes to hiring a contractor for a specific job.
HOW LONG WILL THE JOB TAKE?
This is the sixty four million dollar question and one which you will definitely be asking your contractor.
Don’t just stop there. Expand further by asking the following questions too;
Are you still working on another project somewhere which could affect your timescale and commitment to this job?
Have you got any bids for jobs which have not been finalized yet?
How will any interruptions to the timescale be dealt with?
We would always advise adding twenty percent onto the timescale that any builder gives you!
HOW WILL PAYMENT BE DECIDED?
Another crucial question; you need to agree on not only how much but also when.
We would never advise homeowners to hand over all the money at the start of any project.
Have agreed goalposts when payment will be made.
Also, have a frank conversation with your contractor about how they will handle the budget constraints.