Questions about timing and cost are the most common inquiries a home improvement contractor hears, but during an interview with a homeowner—when homeowners should be asking about credentials and verifying business practices—they are instead asking,“When can you start? When will it be finished? How much will it cost?"
There’s more to “Remodeling Done Right™” than those three questions. Set your remodeling project up for success by asking the right questions and knowing how to ask them.
Although a reasonable timetable and budget is important, it shouldn't be the primary focus of an interview for a job. Homeowners should also focus on trust and quality.
2018 National CotY Award Winner,
Residential Kitchen Over $150,000
The Levine Group Architects Builders, Inc.,
with team member Grossmueller's Design Consultants, Inc.,
Silver Spring, Maryland
See more award winning remodeling projects.
Here are some questions NARI members recommend you ask before signing a remodeling contract:
- 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? (Always verify this 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. Check with your local or state government agencies.)
- 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?
- Have you or your employees been certified in remodeling or had any special training or education, such as earning a Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS) or Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) or Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (CKBR) designation?
Remodeling can be a fun experience. Create your dream room or home and learn a little about design and building along the way. But the person who does this work will be part of your family for the duration of the project, so you need to make sure you're comfortable with the company you choose. The above questions should provide you a starting point to making that decision. If a company is uncomfortable with these questions, that should tell you a lot, too.