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What Do You Need to Know Before Hiring A Contractor?

What Do You Need to Know Before Hiring A Contractor?

Christine Pilla on July 17, 2022

When preparing to begin a construction project, you will have a long list of things to get in order. Only a few will be more important than ensuring that you are hiring the right contractor for the job. The right contractor will not only guide you through the construction process but ensure that you are left with a beautiful and completed product when they are finished. Continue reading to discover what you need to know before you hire a contractor.

Ensure Contractor Is Licensed

If you are looking to hire a contractor, you must ensure they have a proper and up-to-date contracting license. This will help verify that they are a respectable business and have gone through the correct hoops to be able to work for the public.

Ensure They Have Insurance

A contractor having insurance is an essential aspect of the job. Them carrying proper and active insurance will guarantee that you will both be protected if any damage is done during your project, if anyone is hurt while at your job site, or if anything goes wrong.

Ask For References

When looking at more than one contractor, you can ask them if they have any references. These could be residential projects that they have done or commercial buildings. The idea is that it will allow you to talk to someone the contractor has personally worked for, ask them about their experience, and view the contractor's work firsthand. You can always ask the local hardware stores if you're having trouble finding a contractor or if you need advice on which one to hire. Contractors will use these stores frequently, and the store attendants will have a good idea of who is doing quality work and who is not. So they should be able to give you some quality references.

Do They Offer Any Warranty?

Some building products offer a warranty once installed, such as windows, flooring, HVAC, and more. Ask your contractor about any warranties on the products they install and what you will need to do to access the warranty if the need arises. Some contractors will offer a warranty on their work. You should always ask them about this, as it will help guarantee that it will be fixed if anything goes wrong after the project has been completed.

How long will this project take

As the homeowner, you do not want to be put out of your home or a section of your home any longer than you have to. This is precisely why you should get a rough estimate from the contractor on how long it will take. Knowing how long the project should take will allow you to plan your life around the project's timeframe. If they give you an unreasonable timeline, it may mean that they are working on too many projects at one time and will not provide your project the attention it deserves.

Is The Contractor Busy

Knowing how many projects they are currently working on will give you a good idea of how committed they will be to your job. But, just because they say more than one or two does not mean you should be scared off immediately. It is common for contractors to be involved in more than one project at a time because the projects may be at different stages. If one home is being framed, which the contractor is doing, but the other two are waiting on roofing materials, which the contractor is sub-contracting out, they may seem busy but are working at a perfectly normal pace. Depending on the contracting company's size, it is also possible to utilize more than one crew, which means that they could efficiently work on more than one project simultaneously.

Work Out The Details

When taking on a construction project, there will be many things you did not think about when you came up with the idea. These are all things that you will need to discuss with your contractor before you sign a contract. Ask them questions like who will be purchasing the materials. Contractors commonly get a much better price on materials and may be willing to pass the savings on to you if negotiated ahead of time. Who will be filing the construction permits? The contractor usually does this, but it is something that you do not want to forget about. So go ahead and ask them and ensure that someone will take care of it. How will you communicate with the contractor through the process? You will likely talk to your contractor a lot and want to ensure that you have a clear line of communication. This will help ensure everyone remains on the same page throughout the process. Do they have a detailed contract? Most contractors will want you to sign an agreement before starting the project. This is normal; however, you will want to ensure that you read the contract and understand it before signing. This will help guarantee that you are not caught unaware later on if you have a disagreement with your contractor. Also, you will want to pay attention to how your potential remodeling contractors speak about the project. If they offer advice, throw out new ideas, and suggest different opinions, then that is a good sign that they are a quality contractor. Less desirable contractors will be looking to get your job done and move on to the next one, so they can get paid. They will not want to go above and beyond on your project if they do not benefit financially.

When To Avoid A Contractor

When looking for a contractor, hiring a professional who has been in the business for a long time is best. New companies may perform just as well, but they will not have the proven track record of an established business. If you are discussing hiring a contractor and they are purposefully ignoring you, missing scheduled meetings, or even if you don't get along with the person, you may not want to hire them. You will spend a lot of time talking and working with this person. You want to ensure that the two of you can work well together. If you are hearing bad reviews about them. Before hiring a contractor, you can ask friends, family, and even the internet about past experiences with the company. If they have an excessive amount of bad reviews, then that may mean that you should look for a different contractor. A contractor may be specialized in a different field than what you need to be done and therefore may not be a good fit. If you need a room drywalled, then you would not call an HVAC specialist to do it. The same goes for other trades. If you need one specific task done, call a contractor specializing in that task, not a general contractor. If you need a sizeable multi-trade project completed or even a whole home built, you will contact a general contractor for a project such as that.


Starting a construction project can be a daunting task and one that you will want a good quality contractor to help you get through. When deciding who you want to hire, make sure they are a good fit for you, and make sure they are a good fit for your project.