What to Ask a Prospective Contractor w Bryan Baeumler
July 15, 2014
When selecting a contractor there are lots of questions that you should be asking them, here is a reminder list and why it is important to ask these questions:
Are you licensed and bonded to work in this area? Can you provide your license numbers?
- You don’t want to do business with people who aren’t authorized to work in your area (and don’t have liability insurance for accidents).
What’s your street address?
- You should be wary of contractors who only give post office box addresses; it’ll be impossible to find them if you have a problem with their work.
How long have you been in business?
- Many fly-by-night tradesman do shoddy work in one town and then vanish after a year or two. Try to find a tradesman who’s been in business locally for at least three years.
Can you give me references for clients who have hired you for similar projects?
- If the references are few or are not recent, ask why. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
Will you show me before and after photos of similar projects you’ve done?
- You’ll want to see what kind of work they do. Better yet, ask some of their customers if you can come to their homes to see the contractor’s handiwork.
Will you explain what the job will involve and how long it will take? Can you give me a guaranteed end date?
- Having them explain the project to you shows that 1) they know what’s involved, and 2) they’re willing to communicate with their clients. Though no job goes exactly as planned, you should have some assurance that the project won’t drag on for months.
Will you provide a written estimate and a set maximum price for the job?
- You’ve heard the horror stories about contractors who bill their clients for thousands more than they thought the job would cost. Assume that big projects will go 15 to 20 percent over budget; it’s a good sign if the contractor is willing to honour the estimate price even if the project takes longer than anticipated.
What is your payment schedule?
- Steer clear if the contractor asks for a hefty down payment (they might say it’s for materials) before any work begins. This might indicate that they are not established enough to have accounts with local vendors and doesn’t have the cash reserves to pay for them out of pocket. For big jobs, negotiate a fee structure in which you pay over three or four installments (the last one being the largest).
Hogg Heating & Air Conditioning with Bryan Baeumler
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