How to Hire a Contractor: Questions to Ask Before Hiring


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When beginning any construction project, finding the right general contractor is essential to the success of the project. Spending time upfront to find a quality general contractor that’s the best fit for a project can save hours of time and headaches. While the quoted cost can and should be a significant factor when making the decision, it shouldn’t be the only factor. There are several other considerations and certain flags to look out for. Eagle Eye Resources created the ultimate list of questions to help you learn everything you need to know in order to confidently choose the right pro for the job – and head off common construction problems.


#1: “How Long Have You Been in Business?”

Contracting businesses that have been established for years have more industry experience as opposed to newer companies. “Companies with experience have created systems and controls to ensure their work is on time, on budget, and of the highest quality,” said Ken Kelly, President of Kelly Roofing in Naples, Florida.


You may choose to hire a contractor who has years of experience but has limited experience as a business owner. If so, it’s best to start them off with a smaller project, such as a maintenance job. If you’re content with the job afterward, then you may choose to put them on a bigger project.


Begin with finding several contractors in your area and DO YOUR RESEARCH ahead of time. If any of your findings raise a red flag, ask questions. The majority of contractors would rather answer questions than be removed from consideration.


#2: “What Is the Payment Plan / Budget?”

When inquiring about getting a project done, it’s imperative that you never pay the full price of contracting upfront, no contactor should ask you to. It’s also important to discuss the payment before construction begins. You should be informed of the exact amount that’s due and when. Contractors’ bank accounts spend most of a project playing catch-up, simply replacing money that the contractor already put out on the job.


A solid payment schedule can help. In construction, a payment schedule is a timeline of the payments to be made throughout the lifetime of a project. In most jobs, contractors don’t receive a single, lump-sum payment for the work or materials they provide. Instead, construction agreements typically break the full contract value into progress payments, made at regular intervals during the project schedule.

A payment schedule should contain all of the information you need to plan out anticipated and actual payments:


- The name of the contractor or vendor

- Description of the work or materials

- Amount of the payment due

- Due date for the payment

- Actual amount paid

- Actual payment date

- Payment method

- Notes


#3: “What is the Timeline for Completion?”

It's important for homeowners to have a clear picture of when their hired contractors will start and complete a project, as well as be aware of outside circumstances that could affect their completion. For example, here are a few questions that will aid in further clarifying your projected timeframe:


- Are there any other projects you’re working on now that could affect our

schedule?

- Do you have any current bids that haven’t been finalized that could impact this

job?

- How will necessary changes to our timeline be addressed?


#4: “Who’s the On-site Project Manager?”

You need to know who to contact should you discover things are not going as planned. You also need to know someone on site is tracking the progress of your project. If you are not given the name of a person who will be the project manager, don’t hire the contractor. And if your contractor names another person to oversee the project, the next question you ask should be who will give you daily updates. Some of the responsibilities of a project manager are:


- Planning

- Hire, fire, and supervise

- Deliver on time

- Stay on budget

- Keep the client and your boss in the loop

- Draft contracts

- Manage risks


Not all construction project managers know what they do all the time. Sometimes, they get too overwhelmed with so many tasks and with the multiple stakeholders they have to communicate with. The construction project manager is the key figure of the construction project team. Without the project manager, the team will fail hard. Imagine what would happen if the project manager doesn’t know what to do with the team?


#5: “What Kind of Written Warranty Do You Have?”

Most contractors will guarantee their work, and some will even use a written warranty agreement. This should clearly disclose what is covered in the build, what is not, and for how long. Asking about warranties is definitely important when considering questions to ask a general contractor. While a one-year warranty is good, two years is even better. Others will provide long-term warranties for things like the foundation.


Warranties are important since defects in construction often don’t show up until well after the last check has cleared. Common ones include drywall cracks and nail pops, concrete and tile cracks, lumps in the carpeting, sticking doors and windows, and leaky flashings, to name a few. Yet another reason to work with a reputable contractor is that he is more likely to honor the warranty and return to fix things, even after the typical one-year warranty has expired.


The terms warranty and guarantee are often used interchangeably and have the same meaning legally. However, as commonly used in construction law:


- A warranty is a written promise (or guarantee) by the manufacturer or contractor

to repair or replace a defective product or correct defective workmanship.

Most warranties have time limits and other restrictions (limited warranty).

- A guarantee is a more general term, referring to any promise by a manufacturer

or contractor that a product or service will be free from defects.


Work with Eagle Eye Resources

At Eagle Eye Resources, we will check every box on your list of questions to ask a contractor. Eagle Eye specializes in residential and commercial real estate development/construction, design + build, renovations, historic preservations, and real estate financing.


Our team of building specialists manages the entire process of your home build or renovation project from day one, offering a turnkey solution for your project. The Eagle Eye promise is high-quality work with transparency at every step, which keeps our customers coming back for all of their building needs. If you talk to our former clients, you’ll hear that we are a true resource in the development process, and our team communicates with you along every step of your construction/renovation.


Eagle Eye Resources provides the organization and communication skills to get the job done right, from the initial design to the finishing touches. If you’re looking for superior knowledge and professionalism coupled with a streamlined approach, we’re the home builders for you in Louisiana. Start planning your project today!


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