In addition to price, contractors need to be judged on two additional criteria: Quality of work, and taking care of business. Getting a recommendation from family, friends, and local customers is one way to evaluate quality and business approach. Building inspectors usually know who does quality work, but that does not necessarily mean they know who is a good business person. Whether you get recommendations or not, you must still perform your own due diligence. Here are some questions to help you do just that.
Key Questions I ask Contractors
- When you book an appointment do you show up? [Often times the contractor thinks I'm joking with them. This is no joke. If I can’t depend on them, I don’t work with them.]
- Do you show up on time? Every time?
- Are you licensed and bonded? By whom?
- Do you have Workers Compensation and general liability Insurance? With whom?
- Do you hire subcontractors and do you make sure that the subs have insurance? [This is important because if there is an injury they could make a claim against you, the homeowner.]
- Once a project is started, do you see it through to the end in a timely manner? Examples?
- Do you do good work? Evidence?
- Do you ever make substitutions to what the homeowner chose? [There are look-alike cabinets and fixtures that are similar but are of a lesser quality.]
- Do you always clean up after yourself and haul the debris away?
Whether you’re working with a small or large operation, there are always good and bad aspects to every outfit. Do your homework. And, keep in mind to closely watch the contractor’s facial and body language when they answer your questions. Frequently it is not what they say, but how they say it that will tell you what you want to know. - Alexander Interiors, McLean, VA