Want to develop a successful working relationship with a general contractor? You’ll need to be prepared to ask the right questions every step of the way. Check out our post about the questions you should ask during your first conversation if you’re just getting started with your search. Today, we’ll be focusing on the questions you should ask before signing a contract. Ready? Let’s get started.
Questions To Ask Your General Contractor: Before You Sign A Contract
1. Can you provide a list of references I can contact?
You want to hear a confident “yes” here without hesitation. The best sales tool in a contractor’s pocket is their collection of successful jobs before yours. The last thing you want to have happened when you ask this question is to have your potential contractor run away in fear. We’d call that a solid red flag! A good reference is the best way to assure your contractor is trustworthy.
2. What is the estimated timeline of this project?
The aim here is to get a specific amount of time. Sure, unexpected problems come up from time to time. That’s generally what happens when walls are removed. But an experienced contractor should be able to predict how long a specific project should take them based on their assessment. If a contractor has suspicions that there may be hidden damage, they may not be able to give you a specific projected timeline. If that’s the case, they should definitely be up for signing a “times and materials” contract.
3. Are you willing to sign a “times and materials” contract?
What is this? Well, there is a certain degree of “unknown” with every construction project. Like we mentioned before, there’s a chance some unexpected issues may arise as walls come down. These issues generally require time, materials, and money. You don’t want to be left unprotected if this situation pops up. A good general contractor will be prepared to sign a “times and materials” contract which lays out the contractor’s fees to fix these unexpected issues. This document typically includes labor rates and materials markups of anything that might pop up unexpectedly.
4. How often do you complete projects within the anticipated timeline?
You want to learn here that the general contractor completes most of their projects on time. And you also want to learn that when they don’t, they have a good reason. You won’t likely get a specific percentage answer, but the contractor should be able to give you a general answer. You can learn a lot about your potential contractor from just this question. Specifically, you can find out if they’re overextended. Taking on too many projects at one time can cause delays. Lucky for you, your contractor should have already provided you with a list of references to contact. This way you can verify that this information, is in fact, true.
5. Will you be on site to oversee the progress of the job?
You want to hear that your general contractor will either be on-site full-time or that they’ll be stopping by daily to track progress. Remember, the contractor is who laid out the plan and gave you the anticipated timeline. You want them present to keep an eye on how the project is unfolding. If the general contractor themselves isn’t going to be on site regularly, you should ask for the name of who you can trust to be at your house daily. This way, you’ll know who to call if you discover that things are not going quite as planned.
We are Meridian Design Build, Ltd. a Charlotte construction company that provides every client with comprehensive, timeless results with an unwavering commitment to quality, character, and integrity. Ready to start a project? Schedule a consultation.
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