(taken from summer 2011 issue of Housewarming newsletter)


PLATINUMREALTY is going there!

We are asking the questions you wished you had asked before you hired your last contractor. Before you tackle your next home improvement project, consider the below questions and tips.  If anything, they will help you to make more informed decisions BEFORE you get in too deep.


1. How many projects like mine have you completed?
Just because they have the largest ad in the telephone directory does not qualify them for your home improvement project. Not all contractors have experience in all areas of construction. Find out their specialty – what requests do they receive and complete the most. Ask them if they have ever completed a project like yours from start to finish. Based on their level of experience, seek their input on ways your project may be completed efficiently and effectively.


2. May I have a list of references please?
“Ya, I’ve built plenty of houses.  That big house you see overlooking South Shore, that’s one of my jobs.” Sounds familiar? They may very well be telling the truth. But to what degree is the question. Request a list of past clients, their names and numbers. A good and thorough contractor should understand the value in building a portfolio of documenting their work experience. This includes building connections with past and present clients who are willing to vouch for them and speak to the quality of work rendered. Take the next step and contact the references provided. Were they satisfied with the process and the final outcome? Would they hire the contractor again? Did the contractor show up on time?  Will they permit you to visit their house to see the finished work? These are sample questions to ask the references provided by the contractor.


3. Will you be using subcontractors?
This is a very important question to ask.  Do not take for granted that the person whom you hire will be the person completing the job. Sometimes contractors work with other contractors to complete jobs for various reasons. You want to know who will be actually completing your job from start to finish. You do not want to show up at the job site and find a contractor you fired in years past for poor workmanship pouring concrete on your job site! Not a pretty picture at all. Ask the contractor you are interviewing for names of persons they will be using to complete the job. Find out why they may need to subcontract your project. Request an agreement be signed between you and any subcontractor releasing you from any possible claims they may make due to non-payment from the contractor whom you originally hired.


4. What type of insurance coverage do you have?
More and more people are entering the realm of entrepreneurship. This is great news! For your project, however, make sure that the contractor you are considering has dotted that ‘i’ in the area of insurance.  You do not want to be held liable for any damages, accidents, or workman’s compensation issues occurring on your property.


5.  How long have you been in business?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I’ve had great success with contractors just starting out on their own and contractors who have been in business for many many years. More appropriately, you may want to ask them how long have they been involved in their trade and what they have learned from their experiences. Although they may have just launched their business, they may have many years of experience working as an apprentice, associate, or operations supervisor in their respective industry.


6.  In your absence, who is in charge?
A second-in-command is always a plus especially when working with a contractor juggling more than one job at a time. When you are unable to reach the main boss, you will want to be able to contact their trusty sidekick who is equally qualified and able to make decisions concerning your project when time is of the essence.



PLATINUMREALTY offers property consulting and property management services.
Call us at 238.6037 to schedule a consulting appointment to discuss your options further.



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