Your Pocket Checklist: Must-Ask Questions When Hiring a General Contractor

Your remodeling project should be everything you’ve dreamed about. Whether it’s a kitchen renovation, bathroom makeover, or a complete home transformation, hiring the right general contractor is crucial to ensure the success of your project. A reliable and trustworthy contractor will bring your vision to life and save you from unnecessary stress and costly mistakes. But with so many options, how do you find the perfect fit? Get multiple quotes, advocate for yourself, ask questions, and get those answers in writing.  

In this blog, we’re tapping into our 60 years of experience to encourage you to take the necessary steps (and lots of notes) to gain valuable insights into a contractor’s experience, qualifications, and work ethic, enabling you to make an informed decision. Always remember that good contractors welcome careful examination. Let’s get started!

How long have you been in business?

This question should always be upfront. An experienced contractor should understand the remodeling process and confidently handle unexpected challenges. Remember that the Better Business Bureau is a powerful resource for verifying each business’s reputation, customer reviews, and complaints. You can also search the company name with terms like “complaint,” “scam,” or “review” to see what results appear.

 Are you licensed and insured?

A valid license ensures that the contractor has met the necessary requirements and regulations set by the state or local authorities. Additionally, insurance protects you from liability in case of accidents or damages during the remodeling process. Ask the contractor to provide proof of their license and insurance and verify their validity with the respective licensing and insurance agencies.

Do you use employees or subcontractors?

All remodeling contractors are not equal. One significant benefit of working with Callier & Thompson is that our carpenters are employees, not subcontractors. This distinction gives us complete control over the quality of work. Although the other trades are subcontractors (tile, electricians, plumbers, etc.), we have relationships with them. Our lead carpenter is typically very familiar with the person coming out to work on their job. We manage the entire project and communicate daily details through an App, including photos. You can also get a sense of a contractor’s practices by requesting a list of vendors and asking those businesses if they pay their bills on time or typically pay late.

Can you provide references and examples of your previous work?

A reputable general contractor should be able to provide references from previous clients and examples of their completed projects. Contact those former clients and ask about their experience working with the contractor. Were they satisfied with the quality of work? Did the contractor complete the project within the agreed-upon timeframe and budget? Additionally, ask the contractor for photos or virtual tours of their previous projects to assess their craftsmanship.

Do you provide a detailed written contract?

A written contract is essential to protect both parties involved in a remodeling project. It should outline the scope of work, project timeline, payment schedule, warranties, and other details of your proposal. Review the contract carefully and ensure all verbal agreements and promises are in writing. If there are any discrepancies or unclear terms, address them with the contractor before signing the contract.

Other considerations include:

  • How many projects are you currently managing?
  • Will you obtain the necessary permits for the project?
  • How do you manage changes or unforeseen circumstances during the project?
  • How do you communicate with clients throughout the project?
  • How do you handle clean-up and disposal of construction debris?
  • What is your approach to sustainable and eco-friendly practices?

No matter the size of your project, our priority is to listen and work closely with every homeowner, from consultation to completion and beyond. Visit our portfolios and FAQs, learn more about The Callier & Thompson Experience, and contact us with questions or for a consultation today!

Torch Award Bob and Carolyn