The term, contractor, covers many different fields in the work-a-day world. A contractor is any person who works independently for hire and does not work for a business or other organization for payment as an employee.
The focus of this article is the construction contractor since that is the most usual reference for the term. The construction industry relies heavily upon contractors. Even construction companies frequently subcontract phases of their projects to outside contractors.
Most independent contractors also complete construction projects for individuals to supplement their down time when construction company work is slow to non-existent.
It is in this arena where the potential for all kinds of problems arise. The source is two-fold: the contractors and the difficult-to-please clients they work for.
More often than not, it is the dishonest contractor who makes the local evening news. Tales of poor workmanship, unfinished work and downright thievery are rife in the overall construction industry.
To help the public avoid the dishonest scammers, here are six pieces of info you should get from any potential contractor before hiring them, not after you already have hired them.
Primary Business Location
Ask the contractor all the pertinent questions about his business. After all, you are his customer, and you need to be able to contact him quickly and regularly if you hire him.
First, ask him for his business address. You need to know where he is physically located, and it needs to be a legitimate business facility.
Business location can give you all the information you need for initial hiring considerations. If the contractor gives you a post office box as his primary business address, red flags should go up.
Visit his business location and confirm it with a face-to-face meeting with either the owner or his receptionist. Take your time and look around the facilities.
Does it look like a construction business. Is there evidence of heavy equipment and heavy traffic around the grounds? Know first for sure you are in fact dealing with a real construction contractor.
You hear it all the time, often too late and after the fact. Get references. References should be recent references, not from jobs completed years ago.
Visit these completed job sites. Speak with the previous customers and ask them for their feedback about their experience.
One of the most important questions you can ask former customers is about the contractor’s customer service. Ask if they had any issues with the completed job.
In construction, there are always issues. The problem lies not with having issues but with how quickly and efficiently they were handled.
Did the contractor respond within a reasonable time, and was the correction made at no additional cost? These are the true earmarks of a real professional.
Ask the contractor about your job’s priority on his schedule. You need to know how your job fits within the contractor’s ongoing projects.
Does he have just too many ‘irons in the fire’ to take on your project, or is he available to start immediately or at least on a set date in the near future?
A construction schedule with phase completion details and dates shows the contractor’s degree of dedication he plans to give your project.
His answer can give you insight as to how your job may be handled and completed. If your job is not at least among his top priorities, you need to find another contractor.
All construction is expensive. You need to know whether his costs are in line with industry standards. For instance, depending upon your location, per foot construction costs should be in the range for your area.
Generally, a figure of around $100 per square foot for residential construction is acceptable. This figure is dependent upon too many variables to list here. For appropriate costs in your area check this out: https://www.statista.com/statistics/830432/construction-costs-of-residential-buildings-in-us-cities/.
Finally, make sure to inquire about his guarantees. Every legitimate contractor is bonded, licensed and insured against customer losses. They also have a process in writing about how these warranties and guarantees are serviced.
Any contractor who does not offer customer satisfaction guarantees should be avoided. For more details on construction guarantees, visit this site: https://succeedwithcontractors.com/quality-contractors-warranty/.
Get these questions answered to your satisfaction before hiring your contractor. Doing so will greatly decrease your chances of hiring the wrong one and discovering it too late.