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eLocal Guest Post Part 2

By Guest
February 4th, 2011 - 11:42 AM

In her last post, Adria gave several tips on how to find a reliable contractor. Here are a few questions to ask when checking references on a contractor you're thinking of hiring.

Questions to Ask References

After you've collected the four different kinds of references recommended above, it's time to start picking their brain about the contractors in question.

  • Can you explain your overall experience? (Pay attention to their tone, their overall statements, etc.
  • Would you recommend this contractor again?
  • Did the contractor respond quickly when you contacted him? Did he provide good solutions to your questions?
  • Was the supervisor for your project the owner or an employee? Was he part-time/full-time? May I have his full name?
  • Did they protect the other areas of your house from dust, dirt, and debris?
  • Did they clean up after themselves daily?
  • Did you ever see alcoholic beverage bottles or cigarettes on the premises?
  • Did they complete the job they said they would in a satisfactory time and manner?
  • Did they start and finish when they said they would each day throughout the project?
  • Were you satisfied with the results?
  • Did the contractor stay on budget?
  • Did you find the contractor professional? (Answering promptly, writing down everything thoroughly, etc.)
  • Choosing the Right Contractor

Once you've decided on a contractor based on the information you've obtained from him/her and the references, ask yourself these questions:

  • What type of vibe did I get from him/her? Do I like him/her as a person?
  • Was he/she prompt when responding to me, both on initial and subsequent contacts?
  • When you explained your project and goals, did the contractor give you real resolutions or general statements?
  • Examine the estimate: How does it compare to the other estimates? (Pay particular attention to supplies and make sure they are not much lower than other estimates.) Is his/her estimate much higher? Call back and ask why. Contractors with higher estimates should be able to explain exactly why it is higher in a professional, truthful way. Remember: Do not just choose the lowest estimate!
  • Did our communication styles click? Communication is key!

Request a Contract

Once you've settled on a contractor, make sure both parties sign a contract and the contract includes a dispute resolution clause.  Also, make sure to set ground rules and expectations with everyone involved early. Lastly, remember communication is very important. Be sure to interact regularly, discussing action items and deadlines.

Adria is the Business Development Specialist for eLocal USA, the nation's #1 directory for finding local plumbing, roofing, and electrical contractors.