10 things to ask before… Hiring a construction company

10 things to ask before… Hiring a construction company


1. Are you financially committed?

Financial commitment trumps personality or price anytime. Look for substance in your contractor’s bid and make sure you can keep in touch with the company and call if problems arise. Just going with the lowest-price or sweetest-talking bidder often does not pay off in the end.

2. Have you gone by any other names?

This is a key question to catch any red flags. A construction company with multiple past business names should make you wary. Did it make the change because of a bad reputation, angry customer or Better Business Bureau stamps of disapproval?

3. Do you have a permanent office?

You will want to look for a permanent address as assurance that the company has the means to see a project through to completion and deal with any hiccups along the way. Any contractor without a permanent business address should remain off your list.

4. Will you provide a safety plan?

A safety plan lays out guidelines to help ensure that workers on-site adhere to health, environment and job-safety measures. A solid contractor should be able to supply a specific, detailed plan, including insurance coverage and contact information for its insurance agent.

5. Are you licensed and registered?

To stay licensed, many contractors must take continuing education courses or fulfill training requirements on a regular basis. What are the most recent courses or seminars that the company’s employees have taken to stay cur-rent in their fields? What are the certificates they have earned?

6. How long have you been in business?

You want tenure and experience. References can help as well. Look for references who can vouch for a recent job and also references whose projects were completed long ago. Ask the latter group if there were any issues that arose years after the contractor wrapped up work.

7. How do you resolve complaints?

It is not necessarily a bad sign if a contractor has encountered a dispute or complaint. That may be hard to avoid, particularly for companies that have been in business a long time and have a big portfolio. More important is how the contractor rectified those problems. Ask about a particular issue the contractor faced and how it handled the matter.

8. What’s your workmanship warranty?

A contractor needs to install a product according to the manufacturer’s specifications; otherwise, the manufacturer’s warranty is invalid. Often, the construction company itself must be certified to install that product. Be sure all rules are being followed to protect yourself, and your property, in the long run.

9. Will you handle all project details?

The more questions, the better. You need to understand what you’re getting yourself into. Sometimes that means reaching out to the county overseers of building permits and codes to verify what requirements you must meet to move forward. And a key question for the contractor: Who will get — and pay for — the building permit?

10. Can you clearly specify payment terms?

As always, one of the most fundamental questions comes down to price. Make sure everything is detailed in your agreement with the construction company, including any costs to bring the contractor back to finish incomplete work, the specific payment method and the timeline for payments.