Ask for an itemized breakdown of the estimated cost
If you get an itemized bid from a general contractor, it’ll show the costs for all of the various elements of the job. That
‘makes it easier to compare different contractors’ prices. If you need to cut the project costs, you can easily figure your options. Plus, an itemized bid becomes
Ask to meet the foreman and to be taken to a project he is running
If you’d like you can ask to meet the foreman and ask to go to a current project they are running. Meet the foreman in person and see if his current job is running smoothly. Some people have good intuition about people and would like to meet the person in charge of the project. If your contractor says he’ll be running the job himself, ask whether he’ll be there every day. He’ll want to give you a positive response — something you can hold him to later on.
Ask about a contractor’s main suppliers
General Contractors are networked with their suppliers. Ask about a contractor’s professional reputation, whether he has left a trail of unhappy customers in his wake, if he’s reliable about paying his bills — and whether he’s someone you’ll want to hire. Your contractor should have no qualms about telling you where he gets his materials if he’s an upstanding customer.
Can you provide a list of references?
Talk to former clients who have hired the general contractor you’re considering. Ask them about the process, as well as the final product. Discuss budgeting, timeliness, and professionalism.
Do you anticipate any challenges with this project?
Of course, many things in construction cannot be anticipated you can anticipate some challenges and it would be better to address those challenges before you actually have to deal with them
Do you carry workman’s comp insurance for your employees?
If one of the workers gets injured on the job you could be held responsible because it was on your property. If you want to make sure you will not have to pay for somebody else’s injuries make sure the general contractor covers all of their employees with insurance.
Will you agree to including a termination clause in the contract that we co-write?
A termination clause is an agreement that allows either party, general contractor or homeowner, to get out of the contract on the terms both parties agreed to. If a homeowner stops paying the contractor, the contractor could terminate the contract and walk away without penalty. On the other hand, if a contractor doesn’t show up for work, the homeowner could terminate the contract without penalty.
Are you licensed?
The most simple, but arguably most important question you could ask a general contractors. Ask for a copy of their license and contact the issuing authority to ensure it is current and in good standing. In Louisiana, this type of license is issued by the state. Use the online contractor search form provided by the Louisiana State Licensing Board For Contractors.
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