Before you buy certain items or pay for certain services, don’t you ask at least a few questions? Of course, you do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Contract work of any sort is no cheap thrill by any means, so before you invest a large chunk of cash on a particular contractor, it’s important you do your due diligence and ask each contractor you’re considering these exact same questions.
Whether you’re looking to hire a professional electrician, plumber, or HVAC specialist, if a company fails to provide answers to these questions, or provides answers you’re uncomfortable with in the slightest bit, you can eliminate them from your list of potentials; this will then help you narrow your options down to the best candidate. Ask these questions before hiring.
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1. How long have you been in business?
Experience does matter, and the longer a contractor has been in business, that means that company has been in business long enough to endure and overcome the growing pains that comes with being a new company, therefore, they have systems in place to ensure clients their work is completed on schedule and is to the client’s satisfaction. After all, if they’ve been in business that long, they’ve obviously been doing something right.
2. Do you have your contracting license? Can you provide proof?
All contractors need to have all appropriate licenses required for their state, and should have no problem providing proof of it. If you live in a state like Texas, contractors should not only be able to show proof of their licesne but they’re also required to complete Texas continuing education with every license renewal. If they cannot provide this information to you, you can take your business elsewhere.
3. Are you insured?
In a business like contract work, any and all contractors should have workers’ comp and general liability policies in place, and that’s the bare minimum. This should put confidence in the company to let you know that if anything were to happen on your property, you’re not at fault and insurance will cover any damages. The contractor and all subcontractors should also be following OSHA’s Worker Safety Guidelines as well.
4. When will the project be complete?
If the business you’re considering has been in business for quite some time, there shouldn’t be too much of any project that the company hasn’t completed before. So whatever project you come to a contractor with, they should be able to give you a pretty accurate estimate of a completion date.
5. Do you have a payment schedule?
The Better Business Bureau recommends that you should never pay the full price upfront for contract work. They’ll, of course, need funds to get the project started but not the full price… For one, you don’t know the company, nor have you established trust with them. So to pay them the full price upfront will leave you relying desperately on their word to complete the job on good merit and honesty.
If anything, asking for 15% upfront is fair and reasonable, and then after that, they should have some type of payment schedule in place for you to disburse the remaining funds throughout the duration of the project until it’s complete.
There are many other questions you can and should ask contractors but these five above are the tell-all questions that will let you know the true character and merit of a company or independent contractor. You want someone that will charge you a fair price, is honest, and provides quality work. If you can’t find these characteristics in a company or independent contractor, you shouldn’t have any problem taking your business elsewhere.