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And thankfully, I’ve had just a little bit of experience interviewing and hiring them over the five years – making many mistakes along the way, while learning a lot in the process. Purpose: This document equips property owners with basic knowledge, consumer protection, and questions to ask when . You start out by asking them. Show up at an undisclosed time and check out how the crew is working together and how the job site looks. Having a business license alone is not enough, as it allows individuals to operate a business but doesn’t mean that they are a licensed or credentialed contractor. I’ve just managed to get through my first rehab – while living in it – and have been burned by a number of contractors in almost every way you can imagine – paid final payment at the 80% stage, and still only have 80% of the wiring work done, no shows, poor definition of scope, requesting extra money because “it is harder and taking longer than expected”, damage to furniture, use of my own tools… the list goes on. If there were only just three questions in the way of landing a freelance technology contract then the interview process for IT contractors would be much easier to compute, not to mention less daunting.. In fact, if your contractor doesn’t also have a laundry list of questions to ask you, it may be a red flag that their estimate is not detailed, accurate, or trustworthy. Acing investor meetings and landing that funding is as much about the questions you ask, as the answer you have to what investors will grill you with. If you find anything that makes you worry, ask about it. One of the best places to find these guys is through networking and asking around, but I wouldn’t rule out a quick Google search as well. Home renovations can be a little intimidating but the rewards are many. If he has to fire his framer every other week, you may have a hard time getting that part of your renovation done. General Interview Questions to Ask Construction Project Managers With any interview, there are general questions that cover the basics and can set the right tone for the interview. Thanks for sharing the knowledge! They will need to template for holes, etc. Anne Higuera CGR, CAPS September 18, 2013. For example, I planned on networking for referrals and doing interviews with GCs before I even have a prospective deal so I can hit the ground running when I do. By the way, the general contractor could be a “she” as well, I don’t have a female contractor on my team and the majority I’ve met have been dudes so I’ll strictly refer to them as “he” here. It’s been talked about, but would just be another revenue generator for the government because there’s no criteria to get licensed other than to pay the fee and do the paperwork. This may be one of the toughest questions to ask your contractor simply for the fact that it may seem disrespectful. First and foremost always make sure to conduct a thorough research, by consulting with your peers, friends and family with, look at sites like BBB where people usually provide feed-backs and reviews for construction projects. The average cost of a bathroom remodel in the U.S. is about $16,000. So here’s the complete list of questions I ask my contractors when I interview them. Make sure their licenses are up-to-date and they are registered with the state you’re in. Usually 500k to1 million minimum liability. Good article. “Customers and contractors both have to be fair with one another, and your expectations have to be realistic,” Gouker noted. “Customers who ask questions are our favorite customers! By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions. If your state requires education/training, and passing a test to be licensed, it most certainly would help with finding competent contractors. I liked that you included asking contractors how they clean up their job site. Great article, Mike! Better Business Bureau (BBB). What is your philosophy in building a home? The two biggest resistances you have to overcome in business are time and money. 4. Here is a list to help you gather essential information when choosing a contractor: 1. Your welcome Kerry. Great list. Make sure you check their license and previous project success rate. WE all continue to learn and improve. If he has a crew of twenty and an office, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better fit either. Are you licensed? Find out if he prefers to be contacted via phone call, text message or email, get his information, and ask for a general timeframe that you should expect to hear back from him. What questions do you ask your contractors? However, now that more towns have code enforcement officers they don’t get away with this as often. Is there a way I can save it to my profile so I can come back to it later? Does a superintendent come with the project? In that process, I noticed that I tended to ask the same general questions to anyone I interview to work with my house flipping team . We just need a few details to get you set up and ready to go! But once you find a few, where do you go from there? 10 Questions to Ask Potential Contractors Ensure the right fit by interviewing general contractors about these topics that go beyond the basic. “Companies with experience have created systems and controls to ensure their work is on time, on budget and of the highest quality,” said Ken Kelly, President of Kelly Roofing in Naples, Florida. (Don’t ask me why I know this, but it includes a twenty-two year old me, a shoddy rental unit, and an overly eager realtor who said sure, he’d love it if I would remove the wallpaper and repaint the bathroom.) How many hours per day? Thanks for adding your comments. According to the manufacturer, Listello panels can bee inmstalled Popular TV shows may make home renovations look easy, but sometimes parts of the project are best left to the pros. I will be using this list. Probably a good one to post on the forum as I think you will get many comments on this. I have had my share of bad contractors so I know what your feeling. Ouch Martin. You’ve taken the first step toward living in a space that’s uniquely yours. Unfortunately, this is a tougher question to ask, but one that you should ask, albeit gingerly. Hiring the best contractor for your project takes time to research and ask the right questions. I would not want to scare them off and start out on the wrong foot by digging so deep. Your question about whether the contractor has insurance suggests finding out what type of insurance and how much coverage they have is great. My mom is wanting to remodel her kitchen this summer. I wish I would have had a similar list before starting my FHA 203k renovation a few years ago. When you interview home service providers, be sure to compare apples to apples. What are your strengths? “If you can, research how problems were handled and how the customer felt after it was resolved.”. “It keeps me on my toes when people have a ton of questions,” agreed Craig Gouker, Manager of Craig Gouker Roofing in Pittsburgh. This is a great way to not just HEAR what they do, but SEE what they do as well. (glued) directly over existing ceramic tile. All you care about is your job, so make sure he can handle it and hit your deadlines. Good points Denis and that is why we have a written detailed scope of work along with the proposal that we both agree on before commencing the work. I then pick up the phone and call my guy and he starts blaming the sub or blaming this one and that one…everyone except himself. Using a phrase of random words (like: paper Dog team blue) is secure and easy to remember. If they refuse to answer, then you decide if you want to keep dealing with them or move on to someone else. Part of it is bargaining power. But each case is different as is each contractor. Finding the right contractor for your job will determine the quality and timeliness of the work, and the amount of emotional and financial stress you'll have to deal with. How do you usually handle this in your area? Thanks, They’re ready.”. You get a sense of what they’re all about when you meet them at a social event and then after that initial meeting, its best to sit down to interview them and get a feel for whether they’re a good fit for your particular goals. Hi Amy – I agree with you in many respects to that. People who ask me a ton of questions are savvy and feel completely confident they’ve made the right choice when they hire my company: if you’re not sure how to vet your potential contractors, take a leaf out of their book. With the majority of GC’s, they use subcontractors. But there’s a BIG catch. Report comment. But when you’re first starting, its good to cover this because you just don’t know. How do you get a contractor to answer any of the questions that Mike is suggesting that you ask them? Very helpful article. You need to be an advocate for yourself and a reliable contractor is going to have no problem with the above questions being asked. Please leave a comment and share your questions — or ask me anything you’d like about flipping houses! Contracting businesses that have been in operation for many years have certainly worked through a lot of the growing pains that many companies deal with in their fledgling years. One of the basic questions indeed. In fact, I haven’t hired anyone that’s been large enough where they have an employee that’s a staff plumber or an employee that’s a staff electrician. Just be honest and transparent and build relationships. Do you need them more than they need you? You never want to get burned and loose any money if he decides to walk with your deposit. But meeting with contractors can be a significant time commitment for both you and all involved. I know many that would like to hear your story, Hi Mike, I have been there as well and as long as you learn from it and improve the next time. Questions to Ask Home Improvement Contractors. 1. The contractor representations should include that they are licensed, that they are insured – and list the amounts of insurance that you require and that they will have their agent e-mail you confirmation of insurance coverage directly. Start analyzing real estate properties, we do the math for you. we make sure that all subs know that we expect them to clean up their mess at the end of the day, and remove any debri they have created. In this question, you’ll find out if they’re a one-man show or if they’ve got 20 guys working for them. Hi Rose- If you don;t ask, you will never get the answer. Hope the other rehabs have gone better, Nice! What do I have to put down? As to jobsite clean up, when getting bids, etc. Right now, we have three separate crews working on our current projects and so far in 2014, we’re in-line to reach our goal of 48. 14 Killer Questions to Ask Your Contractor 1. They’re not really diagnosing the problem and getting to the heart of what you need,” Istueta said. 6. If you signed up for BiggerPockets via Facebook, you can log in with just one click! If they don’t agree, find out why not and see if you can negotiate least changes that are acceptable to you. Amazing because we were pretty pleased overall with his work but he was stubborn on some things but in the end we are in control and we can’t let anyone run us! ... You should be comfortable talking to your contractor about your concerns and your successes. You just need to interview them on this question and find out if it matches your renovation needs. As these are somewhat personal questions, tread lightly here. Can I get that in writing? If they work from their personal house, that’s fine too, no need to drop by to visit. Good to hear Lisa. You should also be prepared for contractors to have their own list of questions to ask you. Remember that in house flipping, time is money. Is the amount of coverage based on the value of the house you’re flipping or some other criteria. Rather than flat-out asking your contractor if he will lower his price to win your business, which could backfire, ask for his advice on how you can rein in the cost of your plans. Personal question, but important. Nice list. Asking if a contractor has a list of references would be a good thing to do before hiring. Checklist of Questions to Ask Your General Contractor. otherwise, your property can be liened at the end of the job if they weren’t paid. Thanks for the help. If you get a bad feeling here, you may want to look elsewhere however. You may want to write that into your contract just to cover yourself just in case something goes wrong during the project. Here are 15 killer interview questions to help: 1. If they are installing your countertop, you better have the faucets you picked out ready and on hand. Find local real estate meetups and events in your area. When you speak to the contractor’s desk, you submit your order to them. I probably would not have thought of #’s 9 and 10. Not sure what questions to ask? You may also want to ask it like this; “If I gave you this job and it’s a 60 day job, how are you going to communicate with me?”  If they say, “I’ll call you daily and tell you what we’ve done or I can call you weekly or we can do a job site visit each week”, those are pretty good answers. Hi Mike. If he commits to doing your job in six weeks, hold him accountable and don’t accept excuses. Great list of questions. It may be a good idea to get this in writing, but you need to feel this out. LOL Ask him first and don’t lead him with the answer that you want to hear. Reduce your chances of having these issues by working with a professional contractor who is an expert on your type of project. Ultimately, contractors prefer that you voice your concerns so they have an opportunity to address them rather than take them out of the running. Questions to Ask Before a Bathroom Remodel. Have the contractor tell you each day what to expect and ask what they need from you. In this case, prevention is better than cure and the best way to do so is to interview your prospective contractors and ask the right questions. Nov 12, 2016 - If you’re at the point where you’ve definitely decided it’s time to start that home remodeling project this year or perhaps build a new custom home, congratulations! Canada: HomeStars WE carry our own builders risk on every rehab but still require our contractors to have their own insurance. In most cases, they then they sub out the electrical and plumbing. If a general contractor didn’t bother to get licensed in the state in which he does business, stop the conversation right there. Free Mobile Apps What issues have risen up in current projects? Not only is it their specialization, you’ll be prone to have work done well, inside a I’m a new investor looking to do my first flip within the next year and I’m using your questions to structure my interview cheat sheet. Thank you for the article! Home improvements can be a stressful time, but so is trying to find a good contractor. For the contractors I’ve found that have worked the best for our team, we hooked up with them through referrals and networking. Feel free to take a look or leave feedback. Before paying a contractor thousands upon thousands of dollars to build or remodel your home, you'd better be damned sure they know what they're doing and won't leave a disaster on your hands. The trick is to casually, or informally ask these questions while showing him around the project site. If he says, “I’ve got two small ones and one big one going on”, your next question should be, “How many jobs can you normally handle at one time?”  If he says he wants to do your job and he’s already got three going on then you might ask the question; “How will you handle my job at the same time as those other three jobs?”  If it’s a three-week or four-week or six-week job for you, you don’t want your jobs taking eight, ten, twelve or even sixteen weeks. Thanks for your opinion. PasswordUse at least 8 characters. Reply Choosing a remodeling contractor to hire is a big decision. It’s critical that your contractor be clear that he won’t spend a penny over your agreed-upon budget without first gaining your approval — and if you hire him, this should also be specified in your contract. Do you clean it up?”  And then they may say yes or give you some kind of half-answer, then you might say, “Would it be an issue if I wanted my job sites cleaned up at the end of every day?”  See what he says and make your decision. “We go to market by having raving fans and having customers that glow about us,” Hall said. 9 Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before You Hire Them When hiring a contractor there are a few key things you should always do – make sure you get multiple estimates, check their references, never pay upfront, and always get everything in writing. Not taking the time to check a license is one of the biggest problems I see new rehabbers having issues with. If after that you’re satisfied with his technical, service and business skills, you can both move on to something larger. What do you think? (Photo courtesy of Cal Doyle) Get quotes from up to 3 pros! The more information you have, the easier it is to choose the best company for your project. You could also have him text you pictures of what he accomplished that day in lieu of a  daily visit. And if your contractor is juggling three jobs at once, you will not meet your deadlines. Just get them to do most of the talking is the key. Also, do you pay contractor upfront or how is it done? 8. By Ryan Horvath. I’d suggest you ask it because it happens more than you’d think in this trade. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. One of the basic questions indeed. Just to be safe, we’ve also put together a free cheat sheet with 18 more questions that we have handpicked to ensure that you really leave the hiring manager impressed. This is a very helpful article! Use at least 8 characters. The right answer here is all relative to the breadth of the job you’re doing and how they run and operate their business. So a better way to ask this might be: “What do you do at the end of every job? 3. Sharon. What’s the difference in policies and is a remodeler’s risk policy redundant or even necessary if the contractor has his own insurance? Thanks for a great post! But it’s important to discuss payment terms before construction begins, and be aware of exactly how much is due and when, perhaps by specific dates or based on completed stages of the project. great advise Denis and thanks for sharing. I recommend just contacting his recent references on similar projects. Do not rely on their proposals as your contract. France: 123Devis & Travaux In my extremely limited experience so far, the contractor is the most challenging part of all of this. Report comment. What are your weaknesses/ areas for development? You may want to ask for a copy of their license. If you tell a contractor that your budget is $20,000 they will find a way to make their bid $20,000, even if it should be lower.

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