Five Things You Should Ask Your Contractor Before Hiring Them

In the last several years, we’ve heard some horror stories that some of our clients have had with other general contractors. It’s really heart breaking to see what some people do and we thought we’d create a little cheat sheet for you.


  1. Current license and insurance: Is their license up to date? Is it in their name? Do they have proper and current insurance? If they can’t show you any of this, run as far and as fast as you can.  After you have the license number, you can confirm the contractor is in good standing and make sure the person you met with is the actual contractor.  To check for license status click here.
  2. Onsite visit prior to estimate: We have heard that some GCs ask for the address and pictures for small projects and with this little bit of information, they will give you a ballpark quote. While you may think this is convenient, it’s not a good practice.  There are too many unknown conditions for the estimate to be accurate (take a wall down and there’s wood rot, for example).  You may be setting yourself up for paying more than the estimate and this is how jobs become most profitable for GCs.
  3. Tell the GC what your response time expectations are:  Prompt communication is key to successful projects. Set your standard up front and don’t let delayed responses slide.
  4. Establish a timeline and understand what may derail the deadline: Most projects have unexpected delays. It’s the nature of the business. It might be order time for materials, weather conditions, client directed changes, or labor issues. Keep the project on track by asking for regular updates and detailed explanations about unexpected delays that are not in your control.
  5. How will payment be handled? Find out how much, when, and how, and get it in writing with an estimate or contract.  Does your GC take credit cards or checks?  And realize that work not included in the original scope, or unforeseen conditions will generally increase the budget. Make sure to ask your contractor how much extra the charges will be and get this in writing when possible.

Lisa DemmiFive Things You Should Ask Your Contractor Before Hiring Them