Unless you are renovating a property completely on your own, you will need to hire experienced contractors to help you with certain aspects of your investment property. Whether you are hiring plumbers, electricians, painters or carpenters you want to make sure you’re asking the right questions and hiring the right people.
Here are 10 questions you should be asking your contractors before they start working on your property:
How long have you been in business?
This question helps you determine how much experience a particular contractor has in this type of work. While new contractors are very capable of providing high-quality work, contractors who have been in the industry awhile have worked out a lot of the growing pains that come with new businesses. This means they’ve already established processes and procedures that have been proven to work, and can confidently execute the project at hand.
Do you provide guarantees/warranties on your work?
When you are hiring a new contractor, you want assurance upfront that they will complete the task to your expectations. Asking about guarantees will give you an idea about their competency and confidence. If they don’t offer a guarantee in writing, ask them why. You want to hire a contractor that stands behind his/her work and will put it in writing.
What projects like this have you done before?
This question will help you determine if the contractor has enough relevant experience to make you feel confident in his/her abilities. You can use this question as a way to discuss what potential challenges they see with this project, how they’ve handled these challenges before, and their plan to avoid them. Just because someone has painted a kitchen before doesn’t qualify them to paint the exterior of your home. Use their answers to gauge their confidence in the task at hand.
Do you work with a team or alone?
It is important to know who will have access to your home and who will be responsible for each stage of the project. The size and complexity of the project will determine whether it can be done by one person or requires a team.
What can I expect in terms of communication and project updates?
Communication is key for a successful home renovation project. Will they communicate with you throughout the day, once a day, or at milestones throughout the project? Do they prefer calling, texting, or emails? If you expect an update multiple times a day, but the contractor prefers a once-a-week update, you could quickly become frustrated with the lack of communication. Use this question to explain your preferred communication style as well.
How many projects are you working on right now?
Asking this will help you gauge how much time the contractor can dedicate to your project. When flipping houses, the faster things can get done, the better. If a contractor is trying to juggle 3-4 different projects, he/she may not be able to get the job done as quickly as you would hope.
What is the timeline and payment schedule for a job like this?
Deadlines and budgets are two very important aspects of contracting work. Laying out the details and expectations about how long the project will take and how much it will cost will help you hire the right contractor for you. Will there be a deposit and then another payment halfway through and a final payment upon completion? How long do they anticipate the project will take, and how do they deal with delays?
What does a typical workday look like for you?
This question helps when it comes to the planning and logistics of your project. What time do they start working each day? When do they end? Do they take breaks? Are there days when the contractor will not be on site with the team? This also opens up discussions about noise levels, privacy, and whether or not you need to be on-site while they work,
What are your clean up processes?
You can tell a lot about a contractor based on this question. An experienced and high-quality contractor will have a cleanup process in place and be happy to share their methods with you. You can use this time to discuss where trash should be discarded, and how to handle the dust, dirt, debris that appears as a result of the project.
Can I talk to your previous clients?
Most reputable contractors will be happy to provide a list of references and previous customers for you to speak with. Call a few of these references and ask about their experience working with this individual or team. What did they love? What is something that they didn’t like? Honest feedback from people who have worked with this contractor before can help you make an informed and confident decision.
Whether you need someone to help with a simple plumbing project or need help with major construction or electrical work, asking the right questions can help you find the right professional for your project.
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