Hiring for Change: Four Important Questions to Ask a Renovation Contractor

The role of a contractor during a renovation is immeasurable. Literally, the whole project is in their hands and the outcome of the house depends greatly on their expertise. Simply put, hiring a contractor is one of the most integral tasks that a homeowner will do when undergoing renovation.                                                                                            

Depending on the budget and scale of the undertaking, hiring a seasoned professional or a newbie in the renovation has its ups and downs. Veterans have the length of experience and they can tackle a variety of problems thrown their way – at a price tag. On the other hand, new entrants in the business have the energy and the creativity given their age. They may not have a thick portfolio to show, but at least they do not have the exorbitant fees that their more aged counterparts come with.

Either way, the questions that you should ask your renovation contractors before hiring them remain consistent. Renovating anytime soon? Here are some questions to ask a potential contractor before entrusting them with the keys of the house:

  1. How much are you charging for this?

    This is one of the first questions that you need to ask from the renovation or construction company. To be able to request for a detailed quotation, you will usually need to supply them with specifications including the set of plans or design concepts for the project, the materials that will come from you, aspects of the renovation that you will be handling or subcontracting, payment terms and other relevant details. Will you be paying just for the labour? Or will the project also include purchasing of the materials? You need to help the company provide a detailed quotation so you can properly set a budget for the project.

    There should be a contract prior to commencing with the project and there should be a go to person who will spearhead the whole project, like a project manager or lead.  This Old House magazine recommends conducting both a phone interview and a face to face meeting to talk about the cost estimates. They also stress the importance of being at ease with the contractor, because this person or company will be communicating with you and working inside your own for hours at a time.

  2. How much time do you need?

    One thing that will definitely eat up the budget is the length of time it will take for the project to be accomplished. Delays can cause serious ramifications to the whole budget as it will eat up overhead expenses. The contractor must prepare a timeline and stick to it, especially for bigger renovations that require the family to temporarily see other living options. It is also better to discuss contingent plans should initial discussions do not go as planned so the family can prepare beforehand.

  3. What other projects have you done?

    As mentioned, new players will not have a list of clients but it is important to at least have someone or companies speak for them. What are their working styles like? Have they done projects similar to your home? If so, can they provide concrete evidence? Look for certifications and registrations. This will make the decision making process easier and more professional.

  4. Is the plan feasible?

    A good contractor is not one that aims to please but is someone who can objectively tell a client when the project is not going to go so well. They should be able to provide an honest to goodness assessment from the integrity of the structure to the presence of pests that may affect the plans in the long run.

    In the end, they will be held accountable for what they will or not do so better to be sure than sorry.

    Planning to renovate or construct a home in South East Brisbane or Redlands? Contact 4sk Constructions and Renovations.