Interview Potential Contractors

From on September 22, 2008 in General Remodel

Choosing a contractor for your renovation project is really not that different from conducting a job interview. Just as any other employer would, you may want to spend some time preparing questions.

Think back to interviews you’ve either conducted or been to yourself. What types of questions were you asked? Were you given any problem-solving scenarios? Unexpected questions can funnel beyond prepared answers to determine the potential employee’s real character. When choosing a contractor, you want to know as much as you can about their skills and experience. Ultimately, though, you find out the most by learning what sort of person they are. You want someone who is trustworthy, ethical, efficient, cost-efficient, reliable, and skilled. It also can help to interview previous clients and establish a trackrecord for quality and reliable work.

Some questions you may ask would be:

  • What is your area of expertise?
  • How long have you been in the business?
  • Can I have the names and contact info of three of your previous clients?
  • Can I have three business-related references?
  • Are you licensed and bonded?
  • Can I have your license number to check for any complaints against you with the State?

A couple of scenarios you might present would be:

  • If you open-up the bathroom wall and discover water damage, how would you deal with the situation?
  • What if you discover asbestos or lead paint, what is your procedure and what additional cost would that entail?
  • You have given me a timeline for completion; how do I know you will honor that and what recourse do I have if you do not?

You can save yourself some leg-work by working through a referral service such as CalFinder, which interviews previous clients, only recommending contractors with reliable records.