If you're starting to go stir crazy while stuck at home, maybe planning a long term project is a good solution. You might be thinking of upgrading your existing home or building a new one.
When the time is right and you are ready to talk to a quality contractor, here is a great list of questions. The process can feel a little intimidating but trust me, you will be so glad you covered all of this up front when work is in full swing. Especially when things go a little sideways because humans are involved and they will.... Also, know that a reputable contractor will appreciate your thoroughness. So here we go:
EXPERIENCE... How long have they been in business? What is their area of expertise?
Will you have a dedicated project manager? Who will be on the job site and how often?
LICENSING & CERTIFICATION... Does the contractor have liability insurance? Does the contractor and all subs have workers compensation? Can you get a copy of the certificate of insurance?
PERMITS... Will the builder be responsible for obtaining all required work permits?
FINISHED WORK EXAMPLES... Do they have photos of projects similar to the one you have in mind? Can you visit homes in person of completed projects? How have these projects held up over time?
TIMELINE... What is the estimated timeframe to complete your project? How many other jobs do they currently have on their plate? How many can they successfully handle at one time?
CHANGE ORDERS... Can they explain what a change order is? What constitutes a change order?
Will all change orders be proposed and signed by you in writing for documentation?
PAYMENT SCHEDULE... What is the payment schedule? By date or completed work stages? (Never pay full price up front!) What final percentage can you withhold to pay after the punch list is completed at the final walk through?
COMMUNICATION... What is the best way to get in touch with them? What is the best time?
How soon do they return calls, emails, texts? How soon do you need to return calls, emails, texts?
WORK SCHEDULES... What time do the subs typically begin and end work? What will the noise levels be like? Do you need to be out of the house at any given point? Will there be any pet challenges? Are there any parking challenges? Where will materials and equipment be stored?
Will the crews clean up after each day?
PROPERTY PROTECTION... Do the subs wear booties or remove shoes when entering the house? Will adjacent rooms be sealed off for protection? Will ventilation be sealed off properly for dust? Will floors be protected from heavy machinery or materials moving in and out? If there is damage, how will it be resolved?
DISAGREEMENT RESOLUTION... Ask the contractor how they prefer to handle disagreements when they arise? Expect mistakes to be part of the process as humans are on the job… but how they are handled makes all the difference.
REFERENCES... Ask for references with contact info. Did the contractor stay on schedule? Was the job site kept neat and clean? Were adjacent rooms of the house protected and sealed off?Were the contractor and all the subs punctual and respectful? Did the contractor stick to the budget? Would they recommend this particular contractor?
This is a pretty thorough list and may get you thinking about things you hadn't even considered before. It is really a great exercise for both client and contractor so that everyone is fully prepared for the upcoming project. Best of luck and I would love to hear from you if you were able to use this list to help with your project!!