Questions to Ask a Contractor

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NARI: Questions to Ask a Contractor


Start by asking questions about a company’s business practices and experience in a similar type of project. If you decide you want to hire a particular remodeling contractor, then you can discuss when he or she can start, what time he or she can knock on your door each morning and when you will have your home to yourselves again.

Here are some questions NARI members recommend you should ask signing a remodeling contract:

What TO ask a Contractor:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job?
  • Who will be working on the project? Are they employees or subcontractors?
  • Does your company carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  • What is your approach to a project such as this?
  • How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year?
  • May I have a list of reference from those projects?
  • Are you a member of a national trade association?

Check your Contractor's License

License# 657333

Always verify workers’ compensation and liability insurance information by calling the agency. A copy of an insurance certificate does not let you know if the policy is still current. Even if the certificate has an expiration date, you cannot tell if the insurance has been canceled by either party. If licensing is required in your state also ask if the contractor is licensed and call to verify compliance with the law. Not all states offer or require licensing. California does not require a contractor to have general liability insurance.

Choosing the Right Contractor


It’s also important to realize that sometimes it’s not the answers you get that are significant, but what you don’t get. Asking the right questions is not enough. You need to pay attention to your instincts and to what information is missing.

Unlike your accountant or stockbroker, your remodeler will be a part of your daily life and available for some on-the-job education. He or she will be privy to your personal life, more so than your doctor or lawyer. Your contractor will know how you look early in the morning and how well behaved your dog is. It makes sense that you should take some time to carefully select this person and make sure that it is someone to whom you can ask questions.

Remodeling can be a fun experience. You get to create your dream room and learn a little about design and building along the way. All you need to do is ask questions. So tap into your curiosity and ask away.