When it comes to hiring a contractor, most folks think they do the right amount of due diligence. They search for reviews, they check with the Better Business Bureau, and they likely ask the prospective contractor whether or not they’re licensed and insured. Doing your research is a good thing.
It helps you avoid the mistake of hiring the wrong contractor. However, many homeowners still feel intimidated when dealing with researching their project before talking to their contractor in hopes of sounding like they know what they are talking about!
Getting taken advantage of is a legitimate fear when hiring someone to tackle a major home improvement project. You’ll need more than pricing info to get the peace of mind you’re looking for.
Thankfully, all it takes is the confidence to ask any and all questions you might have.
Here Are Some Important Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask:
What you want to hear is that they’ve been in business long enough to establish a credible track record of successful work experience. The Fix It Chick has been helping people renovate their homes for almost 15 years and has hundreds of satisfied customers. Check out some of my reviews on Yelp.com.
In the state of Texas, there is no licensing available for General Contractors. However, any reputable contractor will carry worker’s comp and liability insurance to cover any accidents, and their sub-contractors will be fully-licensed. The Fix It Chick uses only licensed professional plumbers, electricians and HVAC specialists.
While a verbal guarantee is nice, it offers no guarantees that the contractor will actually stand behind their work. You want a written guarantee that states exactly what is and isn’t covered. The Fix It Chick always uses a written agreement to protect her clients, and all her sub-contractors guarantee their work for one year from project completion.
Ratings and reviews are a great resource, especially when coupled with references from previous customers. The Fix It Chick has dozens of clients who are happy to talk with you about their experiences in home renovation; just ask! If your contractor can’t provide references or ratings, you should think twice before hiring them.
Failing to pull the required permits can cost you big time. However, many homeowners are unsure as to what permits they’re required to pull for a project. While you can obtain the permits yourself, you’ll want your contractor to as it indicates that they’re going to stand behind their work and, more important, have the licenses required to pull the permits. If your contractor is hesitant to pull the permits it could be a red flag. The Fix It Chick will take care of pulling all necessary permits required to get your home renovation completed.
Knowing who will be managing the project is key, especially if your project is large enough to require sub-contractors. The Fix It Chick personally manages all aspects of your renovation project, from initial concept, to management of daily activities to completion of the final punch list.
The nature of construction is often dynamic: orders get delayed, workers get sick and weather can cause interruptions. The Fix It Chick provides you with a work schedule that clearly outlines when the project will start and end, as well as the hours the crew will be working.
The Fix It Chick provides water for her workers. And unless we’re doing a major remodel that necessitates bringing in a port-a-john, there’s a good chance we’ll need to use your facilities. As part of the Contractor’s Agreement, you will designate which bathroom you prefer the workers to use.
Sometimes, homeowners don’t feel comfortable giving their contractor the keys to their home. That being said, unless you plan on staying home during construction, you’re going to need to give your contractor access to your home. Knowing exactly who has the key to your home or your garage access code gives you the peace of mind you need to know your home is safe.
As part of the Contractor’s Agreement, The Fix It Chick specifies exactly who will have access to your home. Many of my clients are long-term repeat customers who have me just keep their keys, so if that doesn’t indicate my trustworthiness, I don’t know what does!
Many homeowners’ primary concern when hiring a contractor is that the pro won’t follow through with their service guarantee. Any contractor worth his or her salt will be willing to write out a contract that spells out the work to be done, the materials to be used, the time frame in which the project will be completed, the project costs, as well as stipulations outlining what will happen if the project becomes more problematic than anticipated.
The contract should also include a termination clause that spells out the circumstances in which both parties are allowed to terminate the contract. The Fix It Chick uses just such a Contractor’s Agreement that we will review thoroughly and complete before any money changes hands or work begins.