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Questions to Ask a Contractor

By July 1, 2021September 30th, 2021Home

Whether you are building a new house, renovating an older one, or adding on to your current home, it should be an exciting project. After you have determined what you want, the first item to consider is hiring a contractor.

You probably already know you should be asking the potential contractor several important questions as part of the hiring process. The following list includes the most crucial questions if you are unsure what to ask when hiring a contractor. Be prepared with these, and you will increase the chances of fulfilling your dream. Keep reading to find out what the best questions to ask a contractor are.


How long have you been in this business?

This is one of the first questions to ask contractors when building or renovating a house. You want a contractor who has been around the block enough times to have accumulated several references. Although most contractors have gained technical experience from years on the job, that alone does not guarantee that they will provide excellent customer service or have the business acumen to make the job run smoothly. A proven track record as a contractor, along with reliable references, is the best indicator of someone with whom you will end up having a positive experience.


Do you have a license?

States can have different requirements on contractors having a license or other credentials. You will want someone who has gone through the necessary channels to obtain the required certifications in their field of expertise. A business license allows someone to operate a business but doesn’t ensure that they are a licensed contractor. Check your state’s requirements for working as a contractor, and make sure your potential contractor is compliant.


May I see your certificate of workers compensation and liability insurance?

Your contractor should have workers compensation and liability insurance for the type of job they perform. It is not enough to merely ask your contractor if he or she is insured. Have them provide proof of insurance for your protection and peace of mind. Take a look at their certificates of insurance before they start doing any work. This is your best line of defense against future issues that could then become expensive.


Will you get the permits and set up the inspections for the project?

Most projects change the structure of the home and require permits and inspections. While the law on who pulls the permits for a project can vary by state, the contractor should be the one to do it. They know what needs to be done, and by getting the permits themselves, they are providing their name to the inspecting authority.


What is your projected timeline for completion?

Even though unexpected problems might arise, such as removing large rocks from the foundation area, an experienced contractor should be able to provide you with a projected date for the project’s completion.

Homeowners should have specific starting and completion dates with the understanding that unforeseen circumstances might affect the schedule.


What is the payment schedule?

Every contractor has a payment schedule, which includes a specific amount upfront for materials and a balance after the job is completed and inspected. You should establish a schedule of payments linked to the progress of the project, and never agree to pay the entire amount upfront.

Iron out the payment schedule and have it in writing before the work starts. Make sure it includes dates and the amounts of payments, so there are no misunderstandings.


How do we resolve any disagreements?

This question is often overlooked, yet it could be critical since disputes and mistakes are not uncommon. Asking a contractor how he deals with disagreements indicates to you that he does have a process established to take care of the times when the customer isn’t totally satisfied.


Is there a warranty for your service or for the materials you’ll be using?

Most contractors guarantee their work, but it is essential to know what it covers and how long it will remain in effect. The materials that the contractor uses might have a manufacturer’s warranty, and you should ask for a copy of it before the work begins.  The project should be guaranteed against any problems with the quality.


Protect your new or improved home with excellent insurance coverage

After you have decided which questions to ask the contractors, contact one of our insurance experts, and ask about the best homeowners insurance coverage for your new or updated home. Any of our professional insurance advisors at White Cloud Insurance can help you choose the right policy for your needs. Either fill out the contact form, call us at 305-556-1488, or send us a message at