Saturday, April 29, 2006

6 Questions to Ask a Contractor

After you get referrals from your Realtor or other investors, you still need to get three bids. Ask these questions of each prospective contractor:
  1. What are your specialties?
  2. How big is your in-house crew? (i.e., full-time employees)
  3. Which jobs are subbed out?
  4. How many jobs do you have going on right now? (should be less than four for sure)
  5. Get recent references (if won't give 'em, then move on)
  6. Can I see some examples of your work? (photos for interior, drive-by for exteriors)

General Hints and Tips for Selecting Contractor:

  • Don't use the Mega-contractors; find someone small enough that your project matters, but big enough to get it done on time.
  • Find someone generally close to the job site.
  • Only consider those in business at least five years under the same name.
  • Visit a current job in progress (if possible)
  • Ask for the names of his suppliers and call them to check him out
  • Check if there are any complaints with either BBB or city/state departments
  • Ask for both workmens comp and general liability certificates - then call the insurance company and make sure the coverage is active (I have heard of many contractors who get insurance the first year and then don't renew, yet show off the certificate)
  • How professional is he at returning calls and in other dealings with you.

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