WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD YOU ASK A POTENTIAL CONTRACTOR?
Getting a contractor to come on board can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what questions to ask. The more information you have about them, the better your chances of getting what you want out of this relationship.
Are You Licensed?
You should also ask your potential contractor to provide you with their license number, as well as a copy of that license. You’ll want to make sure that the license is valid and in good standing before signing any contracts with them. It’s also important for you to know if their business has recently been suspended or revoked, whether it’s under investigation by state or federal agencies, or whether there are any other issues with their credentials (like having expired).
If you’re in doubt about whether a contractor has been licensed properly and is eligible for work on your project, there are several ways of checking this information:
- Check the public databases available online at either [https://www2.lmvwrldarivrchrgis/public/mainpage]or [http://www2govprod4govprod4gov]. The first link will show all active licenses issued by local governments; these include both residential contractors’ licenses along with commercial contractors’ licenses from cities like Los Angeles County plus counties like San Bernardino County which cover much larger areas than smaller municipalities do within those states’ borders.*
Are you insured?
When you hire a contractor, it’s important to know what insurance coverage the company has. Even if they are insured, there are still potential consequences of being uninsured.
In short: if your contractor doesn’t have insurance and gets injured on your job site, who will be responsible for paying for their medical bills? You could end up losing money due to an unplanned accident or injury caused by another worker at the site (and who knows how much that could cost). Or worse yet—you might even lose your home or business!
You can avoid this risk by asking upfront exactly how much financial protection they offer their workers and contractors.
Are you bonded?
A bond is a guarantee that the contractor will pay their subcontractors and employees if they fail to do so. The bond can be as simple as a letter stating that the contractor has paid all of its bills, or it may involve more complex financial arrangements such as escrow accounts.
Bonds protect both sides in case of a dispute over payment: if you’re owed money by your contractor and they don’t pay it, you have proof that they did indeed owe you; if your contractor owes another party for some reason (like being late on an invoice), then having proof of this helps them avoid fines from government agencies like IRS or EUSD (); however, these kinds of bonds aren’t always required when hiring someone new—they can only be requested after an agreement has already been made between two parties who want some measure of protection against potential problems down the road.
What Is Your Experience Level?
When you’re interviewing a contractor, it is important to ask about their experience level. How long have they been in business? What kind of projects have they done before? Have they done any work in the area where you live? Do they have references who can vouch for their work ethic, quality, and professionalism?
If this person is experienced and reputable, then he or she will likely be able to tell you how many years it takes for an individual to acquire that level of expertise. For example: “I started my company five years ago but I think I’ll need another five years before anyone notices me.” Or “I’ve been doing this job since 2008—that’s enough time!”
What Is the Scope of the Project?
- What is the scope of the project?
- Are you sure you understand what we’re talking about?
- Do you have any questions about that?
What Kind of Services Do You Offer?
You should ask your potential contractor about the services they offer and what they don’t. You’ll want to know if your project requires a specific contractor, or if there are other contractors who can do it for less. It’s also important to find out how much experience this person has in this area, as well as whether or not they have any references from previous clients.
Who Will Be Making Decisions on This Project?
You should be able to ask the following questions of your potential contractor:
- Who will be making decisions on this project?
- Who has the authority to make those decisions?
- How do I know that person is available and willing to answer my questions?
Get your questions answered upfront.
Once you’ve decided to hire a contractor, it’s important to get answers to any questions that will help you decide if they are the right fit for your project. These questions can be asked before or after signing on the dotted line, but it’s best for both parties if you ask them upfront.
You should also ask questions about their process and how they work so that there aren’t any surprises later on in the process. For example:
- What kind of tools do they use? If I am having trouble accessing my construction site because there is no way into certain areas (elevator shafts), what kind of equipment would make getting around easier? How often do they come out with new equipment?
- Who else has worked with them before? Have these contractors been recommended by other clients whom we trust as well-versed professionals who know what works best when it comes to building projects like ours; what doesn’t; etcetera…
We hope the list above has helped you understand the importance of getting your questions answered upfront. You’ll be able to make better decisions about who to hire, based on their answers and experience level. Plus, if you’re looking for a good contractor but aren’t sure what that entails or how much it will cost…then we have some good news! Our experts at First Student can help get you connected with someone who can answer all those questions for free. Just give us a call or send us an email today!