10 Questions to Ask Your Home Addition Contractor Before Starting

10 Questions to Ask Your Home Addition Contractor Before Starting

Making significant changes to your home is a major investment, making it imperative to work with someone you can trust. But how do you choose the right person for the job? Meeting and receiving quotes from potential contractors is not unheard of, especially for larger home renovation projects like an addition. If you’re vetting teams or individuals, here are ten helpful questions to ask.

Essential Questions to Ask Your Home Addition Contractor

1. Are you licensed and insured?

Whether or not a contractor must be licensed can depend on the city and state where they live. However, you’ll want to ensure that the person you hire has gone through all of the necessary steps to obtain any credentials or certifications. Furthermore, checking that their licenses match the services they will be performing is a good idea. For example, you wouldn’t hire a certified electrician to install a new roof. Insurance is also vital, as hiring a contractor without insurance could make you liable for their safety, potentially putting you at financial risk.

2. Can you outline your experience with similar projects?

Aside from making sure they have all the proper paperwork, it’s a great idea to ask about their experience and background. How long have they been in the business? How many completed projects do they have under their belt? You don’t want a contractor with years in the business but very few projects actually completed. Similarly, a contractor whose experience lies outside your project's scope may not be a good fit either. Ask them if they can describe a few past projects that were similar to yours – were they completed on budget and on time?

3. What is your schedule?

Of course, home renovation projects like adding an addition can entail unforeseen events that could extend the timeline. However, having a general idea of when you can expect to reach each milestone is good. Your contractor should be able to provide a clear picture of the project workflow. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether or not the contractor has any ongoing circumstances that could affect the timeline, such as other projects they’re working on or outstanding bids.

4. Will you take care of permits and set up inspections?

Most large-scale home projects require permits and inspections, especially if they will change the structure of your house. An experienced contractor not only knows which permits will be required but also how to obtain them. Most permits and inspections have associated fees, and they can be a bit time-consuming to obtain. Hiring a contractor who is familiar with the process and willing to go through it for you is advisable.  

5. Who will be here during the project?

If your contractor is working on more than one project simultaneously, you may want to ask who, exactly, will be working on your job. Will there be subcontractors? If so, how will the contract ensure consistency throughout the project? Having a qualified and dedicated team and a contractor who regularly checks in can help make the project go more smoothly and according to plan.

6. What is the payment process and schedule?

While contractors can generally give pretty accurate pricing, it’s still important to know how your contractor breaks down their services and how payment will work. Who will cover additional charges? Is there a maximum price guarantee? Most homeowners desire an agreed-upon budget with a guarantee that a project won’t exceed a maximum set amount. Beyond the budget, you can also ask about the payment schedule, which typically entails payments made after each project milestone is completed.

7. Will you handle clean-up?

Significant home projects can come with dust, debris, and equipment. But what can seem chaotic and messy to one person may be just a normal part of home renovation projects to another. Be specific when you ask your contract how clean-up will be handled. Will the site be cleaned at the end of each workday or upon project completion? How will tools or equipment that need to stay on the job site be stored and transported through your home? These are important questions that should be asked before work starts.

8. Is there a warranty for the products used or services provided?

It’s relatively common for contractors to offer a guarantee or warranty with their services. You will want to ask how long it lasts and what it covers. Furthermore, are the materials they plan on using covered by a manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee? If so, requesting a copy of this documentation is a good idea.

9. What is the best way to get in touch with you?

A contractor needs to be good at communication. Both the homeowner and their team should be able to contact them when needed. Learn how your prospective contractor prefers to be contacted and whether or not they have a standard protocol that includes times they expect to be available and how long it can take to hear back from them.

10. Can you provide reviews or past client referrals?

Hearing directly from a potential contractor is helpful, but reviews can also help you form an opinion. Don’t hesitate to ask for testimonials, reviews, or referrals, as reputable contractors will be more than happy to show off a well-done project and a satisfied customer. You can also seek out information on your own, checking out popular sites to see what past customers have to say.

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