10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Remodeling Contractor

A remodeling project isn’t something you should cut corners on.

You’re about to upend your home for weeks. That’s guaranteed to disrupt your lifestyle, sleep, and eating habits, no matter which area of the home you’re working on.

A remodeling project is a costly one. Many people wind up refinancing their mortgage or getting a loan to pay for it. An average remodeling job will cost about $11,000.

You want to work with an experienced house remodeling contractor that knows what they’re doing. Working with someone who isn’t cut out for the job can cost you time and money.

When you’re ready to hire a contractor, you want to ask the right questions.

Here’s what you want to ask before you sign a contract with anyone to work on your home.

1. Are You Licensed to Work in This State?

The first thing you want to get out of the way is to ask for their license information.

Contractors typically have to go through a rigorous licensing procedure. Each state has a different set of qualifications, but it’s the first step in working with a legitimate home remodeling contractor.

2. Are You Insured?

Your homeowner’s insurance will only cover so much.

The contractor that you work with needs to have worker’s compensation and liability insurance at a minimum.

This will protect you so you won’t be stuck with a huge medical bill if one of their workers gets hurt on the job.

3. Do You Work with Subcontractors or Employees?

There is a difference between working with subcontractors and employees.

Employees are usually hourly workers who are licensed and insured under the employer. A lot of contractors will do background checks on them before making a job offer.

A subcontractor is usually responsible for maintaining their own license and insurance. If the contractor works with subs, you need to ask for their license and insurance, too.

4. Have You Done This Type of Work Before?

There are some companies that specialize in certain types of remodels, like kitchen renovations. Others, like this Dallas home remodeling company, work with all types of remodeling projects.

Your job is to know whether the contractor has recent experience with the type of remodel you need.

If you need a kitchen remodeled, you don’t want to work with someone who hasn’t done one in five years. There have been a lot of changes in the industry, including the types of materials used.

Most remodeling companies will be thrilled and proud to show off their completed projects. They may have some before and after pictures on their website. They may also bring a portfolio book to walk you through some of the projects they recently completed.

5. Where Will Tools and Materials Get Stored?

A remodeling job isn’t something that will wrap up in a day.

It can take weeks to finish. In the meantime, the crew will be lugging their tools and equipment in and out of your home.

During the time they’re off the job, those tools have to be stored somewhere.

Will they take the tools with them at the end of the day or are you expected to store them? 

6. How Will the Crew Protect and Clean Up My Property?

Remodeling is messy work.

You want your home to be as neat as it can be throughout the process. Ask each contractor how the crew will clean up at the end of the day.

You also want to know how things like furniture will be protected during the job, not to mention floors in other areas of the home.

7. What Kind of Warranty Do You Offer?

You just invested thousands of dollars on your home remodel.

You want to make sure that there’s some kind of action that you can take if something breaks or falls apart within a month.

The vast majority of contractors will have a warranty on the materials used on the job. The level of warranty they provide on their work varies. You need to completely understand what recourse you have if something happens once the job is complete.

8. How Do You Usually Solve Complex Issues on the Job?

For longer remodeling projects, there are bound to be complicated issues.

Sometimes, these are simple communication issues. Other times, they are complicated questions they have to bring to your attention.

It’s not always easy to handle these situations, because you don’t know how the person is going to react. Asking them ahead of time will help you understand the level of service they provide their customers.

9. Can I Get a Line Item Breakdown of the Estimate?

You’re going to talk to several contractors before making a decision as to who you want to work with, so you’ll want to compare line for line when you’re looking at estimates.

Asking for a line item budget allows you to do that.

If there’s one that seems much lower, it could be because they forgot a critical part of the process, which can cost you way more after they start work.

Plus, this level of transparency early on in the process will protect you if the contractor misses something later on.

10. Do You Have a Contingency Budget for Overages?

There’s no secret that things happen on jobs.

Workers may uncover an issue they weren’t aware of when they gave you the estimate. That issue will cost a little bit more to fix, but it’s better for the overall integrity of the project.

Rather than having to come up with more money, there should be a contingency budget that accounts for these situations. You want to make sure that your contractor uses one and accounts for every penny in there.

Ready to Hire a House Remodeling Contractor?

It’s not always easy to hire a house remodeling contractor that you can trust.

There are too many horror stories of contractors who are paid to do work, only to do a fraction of it and run off.

The more you know about how remodeling contractors work, the more confident you can be in your decision. That starts with asking the right questions.

Are you ready for more home tips? Head over to the home repair section of this site for more inspiring articles.