Questions to Ask Your Home Remodeler

Written by
June 11th, 2012

Not everyone is able to complete all home-improvement projects on their own! Before you hire a contractor for a remodel project, ask these questions:

 Q: Are you licensed and insured?  Most states require contracts to be licensed by law. To confirm if your contractor is licensed in Wisconsin, you can perform a search on the Official Website of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. You’ll want to make sure your contractor carries general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. These insurance policies will protect you in the event something goes wrong during the construction that the contractor is responsible for and to protect your from the liability of a worker being injured while on your property.

 Q: What will the terms of payment be? You should know upfront what you’re expected to put down, or if they offer a pay-schedule and when they expect the final payment.

Q: Will you provide an itemized quote? This should include costs for materials, labor, demolition, and clean up.

Q: Will you pull all the required permits? Permits insure the work is done to code. Some contractors prefer not to pull permits because of how time consuming the process is; however, this could be a warning sign that they aren’t able to pull the permit because they’re unlicensed.  Ask for a proof of permit as well.

Q: Will you provide a list of written references? A good contractor won’t be bothered by this question because they will have been in the business long enough to give you an idea of their work history. They should be able to provide you with several clients that were happy with the work performed within the last year. Recent and relevant project experience is important.

Q: Do you guarantee your work or materials? Work should be warranted for at least a year from completion date. They should also disclose any warranties on the materials used if they are available.

Q: Who will be in charge of the job? You can’t be in charge when you’re not home, so this is your point of contact person! This is also the contact person for any sub-contractors. If sub-contractors are used, you’ll need to know who they are too. What will be sub-contracted?

Q: Will you have a timeline?  They should know approximately how long the project will take. You should also be aware of their work routine and what time they start working in the day and whether they do the job until it’s finished or whether or not they will be working on multiple projects.

Q: How do you handle dirt & dust? Construction projects are messy. Be careful to know who is responsible for sweeping up and placing all the garbage in a container at the end of the day and at the end of the project. You’ll want to know the contractor will make an conscious effort to keep the mess to a minimum.

Q: How do you handle callbacks? If there is a building-related problem your contractor should be willing to return to the job and correct the issue as soon as possible. It’s the contractor’s job to satisfy clients and do the work right.

At the end of the project make sure that your home value is reflected in your homeowners coverage.  If you have significantly increased it’s value, you want that documented for coverage.

Wisconsin residents interested in a no-obligation coverage analysis, please contact Kori Cumley.


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