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A Checklist of Questions to Ask: Screening Prospective Remodeling Contractors

Is it time for an exterior remodeling project? It’s important that you select the right company for the job. Read our tips for finding the right remodeling contractor for your exterior renovation project.

Finding the Right Remodeling Contractor

First, what is a general contractor? A general contractor is a person or company, like RJW Exteriors, that is responsible for overseeing the remodeling or renovation project.

Here are a few things you can do before you schedule a consultation with a general contractor.

  1. Think about your project goals, style preferences, and budget range.
  2. Ask local friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues for recommendations. 
  3. Utilize online platforms like review websites and social media to research local home remodeling contractors near you. Search online for contractors with positive reviews, high ratings, and before and after photos showcasing similar projects to yours.
  4. Confirm that the contractors you’re considering are licensed, insured, and bonded. Also, make sure they have professional certifications or affiliations with industry organizations. Contractors who are recognized within the industry they work in are a very good indicator of quality service. 
  5. Once you have narrowed your list of home renovation contractors, contact one or two companies to schedule consultations.

7 Important Questions to Ask a General Contractor

During your consultations, ask questions about their experience, project approach, communication style, and timelines. Pay attention to how well they listen to your needs and whether they provide thoughtful responses. The right contractor for your project will be able to answer all of these questions.

1. Do you have a portfolio?

Request to see photos of past projects similar to yours. This will give you a sense of the contractor’s workmanship and custom design options. Make sure to ask for contractor’s references from past clients and follow up with them to inquire about their experiences working with the contractor.

2. How long have you been in business and what experience do you have with installations similar to mine?

You wouldn’t hire a licensed general contractor for a siding job if most of their experience is installing cabinetry. They may be reliable home contractors, but they must complete projects similar to yours to be a good fit for the job.

3. Are you licensed and insured? Can you provide proof of liability insurance?

A good contractor can provide their licenses and insurance paperwork quickly. It’s important to get this information upfront to ensure the job runs smoothly and you do not get caught in a situation where your build is at risk.

4. What is your process for handling unexpected expenses or changes to the project cost?

A home remodeling contractor may handle unexpected expenses with a contingency fund that should cover any costs that could arise during the project. Always be prepared by expecting the unexpected.

5. Can you provide a detailed breakdown of the project timeline, including start and completion dates?

Discuss how long you are willing to wait for a home renovation project. Knowing the completion date may help you choose a contractor that aligns with your goals and timeline.

6. What kind of product and installation warranties do you provide?

Some great questions to ask are: What lifetime warranties are available? What happens to my product warranty when I move? If something happens in the future after installation, how quickly can I get it repaired or replaced?

Need more ideas? We have additional questions that may be important to your project:

  • Can you provide a written estimate for the project, including expected materials and labor costs?
  • How do you handle payments? What is the payment schedule?
  • Do you offer financing? What is the best rate you have available?
  • Will there be a project manager or lead contractor on-site throughout the project?
  • What steps do you take to minimize disruption to my home during the remodeling process? Do I need to be home during the installation?
  • What type of materials do you typically use, and do you offer options for eco-friendly or sustainable materials?
  • How do you handle clean-up and disposal of construction waste?
  • What sets your company apart from other remodeling contractors in the area?
  • What is the best way to reach you if I have any other questions, after my project is complete?

These questions help you decide how to gauge a contractor’s professionalism, expertise, and compatibility with your project needs. Additionally, trust your instincts and choose a contractor who communicates well and makes you feel confident in their ability to complete the job satisfactorily.

Are you a Northern New Jersey homeowner hiring a contractor for custom exterior remodeling projects (replacement windows, doors, siding, or roofing)? Contact RJW Exteriors to schedule a FREE estimate. When you work with RJW Exteriors, there are no surprises. Your down to the penny quote is frozen for one year.

Key Takeaways: Finding the Right Remodeling Contractor

  • Make sure you do your research before you hire the right contractor.
  • Remember, lower cost doesn’t always mean better.
  • Once you have narrowed down a list of one or two local contractors, schedule consultations with each one and ask questions about their experience and past work.
  • Check references and request information about product warranties, service warranties, and financing options to complete your project.