12 questions to ask your contractor before you hire

Making updates to your home is a great way to add value and make your space work for you. I am constantly  asked for contractor recommendations by my clients, unfortunately i’ve also been on the receiving end of a few horror stories. Here are some helpful tips and questions you should ask before hiring a contractor. 

  1. Are you licensed in Massachusetts?
  2. How long have you been in the business?
  3. Can I have the contact information for at least three references?
  4. Will you be pulling permits and handling town inspections? Will you make sure the final permit is signed off on?
  5. Do you have up to date liability insurance? Can you provide me with a copy.
  6.  Who will be my primary point of contact throughout the process?
  7. What is the payment schedule?
  8. What type of warranty do you offer for the work?
  9. What time will they arrive each day? What time does the work day end?
  10. Will you clean up at the end of each day? at the end of the job?
  11. What is the timeline for the project?
  12. How often are their projects completed on time and on budget?
  1. Ask for an itemized AND detailed estimate
  2. What is/is not included (trash removal? a full clean up or broom clean? who will fix the accidental hole in the wall?)
  3. Who is their supplier? Is it cheaper for you to purchase some of the materials direct or does he get a discount?
  4. Ask the community! Many of us are part of an online community bulletin board (Facebook, NextDoor) ask for personal recommendations and feedback
  5. Always collect and compare multiple estimates
  6. Is your contractor the one actually pulling the permit for the work?
  7. Unexpected costs are likely to arise when you’re remodeling an older home. Create a budget, and build in some room for these repairs (i’m not talking about upgrades!). Older homes can come with old wiring and plumbing that you might not have been aware of – no matter how good your home inspector. A buffer in your budget is always a good idea.
  8. Read reviews on sites like Angie’s List, Home Advisor and Yelp

Want to check a contractors license? Visit the state’s guide to hiring a contractor.