10 Critical Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Contractor
By Danielle Miller
Congratulations! You’ve decided to take on the remodeling project you’ve been dreaming about. Or maybe you’re just improving the value of your home. Either way, whether it’s a big project or a small one, it’s critical for you to find the right contractor to get the job done. We want to help you make the right choice, so we’ve prepared a list of 10 important questions to ask your contractor. If they can’t answer these questions satisfactorily, you should not give them your business.
1. What is your license number?
MyHome’s license number is 1357367.
You only want to work with a contractor that is licensed. When you have a contractor’s license number, you can call the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and confirm that the license number is valid and up to date.
Feel free to check us out before or after you meet us for a free consultation.
2. Are you a stable, reliable company or a “man in a van?”
We take pride in our ability to welcome clients into our fully stocked Manhattan showroom. Our showrooms are open seven days a week (the NJ showroom is closed on Sundays), so you can always get in touch with someone. Since every project has a Project Manager, you will always be able to contact your Project Manager any time you’d like.
3. What type and how much insurance do you carry?
By law, Home Improvement Contractors must carry liability, disability and worker’s compensation. We carry all of the above with a total coverage of $5 million which is the highest amount required by even the most exclusive Manhattan co-ops. This gives our clients complete confidence in the unlikely event of an accident.
4. Do you belong to the Better Business Bureau?
We have been members of the Better Business Bureau since our inception in 2001. While this is not required for Home Improvement Contractors, members agree to abide by strict business practices and resolve any complaints quickly and fairly. We are proud of our record at the BBB and encourage potential clients to visit the site.
5. Do you have references relevant to my project?
Yes. We believe that past performance is always the best indicator. At MyHome, we document our projects with photos that capture the work accomplished – from before to during and after. We also have a book of referral letters and testimonials. Often, the building management or superintendents recommend our services to other tenants in the building.
After you meet with our Remodeling Consultant, he or she can put you in touch with any of our clients in your building or your neighborhood that have worked with us in the past.
6. Who will handle the day-to-day?
You will want to ensure that your project is a priority and that the contractor is not overextended. That’s why we assign a Project Manager to your project who is responsible for every phase of construction from demolition to final punch-list completion. Our Project Managers come to MyHome with years of experience in construction management and are subject to ongoing training, which is essential for our ever-changing industry.
7. Will you help me design my space?
Yes, because we believe that everything starts with design – and to get it right we make sure we hire the right people. We recruit and train full-time Remodeling Consultants on a regular basis. These professionals understand our processes and procedures inside-out, are passionate about design trends and are committed to the highest levels of customer service.
8. How can I calculate how long a project will take?
Schedules need to factor in the time of everyone involved and consider how long it takes to design, order and receive materials. Manufacturers’ schedules and requisite approvals/permits must also be considered. At MyHome, we draw a timeline that shows you how long each stage of the project will take.
An added benefit of employing a larger, established firm like MyHome is that our crews are always available to start projects. Unlike in a smaller company, where one or two crews are juggled around from job-to-job as needed which can be detrimental to your project, MyHome has many highly-trained, long-standing construction crews at our disposal. This insures that no project is held up or delayed due to a lack of manpower.
We have an excellent track record for completing projects on time, and we often surprise our customers by finishing the job earlier than expected.
9. When can you start?
At MyHome, we have a robust team that is organized and able to handle numerous projects at the same time. Our process starts out with you meeting a Remodeling Consultant – at your earliest convenience. He or she will explore ideas with you, take measurements at your home, design the space, provide you with a computer drawing, and then help you choose products and materials. After everything has been designed, ordered, and finalized, your Project Manager holds a job-site walkthrough with you and the Remodeling Consultant to review the entire job before starting. When the materials come in, the construction begins.
10. What is your warranty on labor and materials?
We provide all of our clients with a 5-year warranty on all labor. We only deal with manufacturers who provide a warranty on their products as well.