Whether you're building your new dream home or renovating your current home, the process should be exciting and fun. Choosing the right contractor that works well with the rest of your professional team is essential for keeping your project on time and on budget. Here's a few questions that you should be asking of any prospective contractor.
1) What's included in your bid?
One of the most difficult aspects of selecting a contractor is determining whether you are comparing bids that include the same items ("apples-to-apples"). Most of the time, the plans that the contractor is asked to price are incomplete. There is enough information to accurately cost the structure but many of the finishes are not yet decided. This is where an itemized bid will give you some insight into what the contractor is allowing.
2) What is our construction schedule?
A construction schedule is a vital piece of information for both the contractor and the client to have. Personally, I'm not sure how contractors build without them. Keeping an up-to-date project schedule that outlines the various tasks and selection deadlines will give you a big-picture view of what really goes into your project. Staying ahead of your contractor with your selections is one way to ensure that you won't walk onto your jobsite and see nothing happening.
3) How long have you been doing business in the area?
Selecting a contractor that has been active in your town for at least five or ten years (or 33 in the case of Sloane Construction) is important because they will have existing relationships with town building officials, subcontractors, neighbors, etc. that can help keep your project running smoothly. A local, established contractor will also be more familiar with local town requirements (i.e. allowed working hours in/out of season or when you will need a Right-of-Way permit), which will help keep surprise costs at bay.
4) Who will be on my project every day?
Shouldn't you get a chance to meet the project manager or superintendent who will be responsible for your home before signing on the dotted line? We think so. Feeling comfortable with the construction team will help you feel more at ease about the project, especially on a remodel where lots of subcontractors will be walking through your current home every day. Make sure to ask your contractor about who will be responsible for supervising the day-to-day tasks, opening and locking up, and answering any questions you may have on a daily basis.
5) What happens if I change my mind on something?
Everyone has heard about the dreaded "Change Order." Don't worry though, the way your contractor handles change orders should be clearly laid out in the construction contract. A change order should be presented, by the contractor, in writing and approved by you, the client, in the same manner. It should be clear from the change order, what the original scope of work was and what is different now. Some contractors will also note on a change order if the construction schedule is affected by the change. Make sure that you completely understand what the plan is, if and when something changes.
Choosing a contractor can be a difficult decision. However, starting with questions like these, you should be able to determine if prospective contractor will be a good fit for you and your project. To learn more about Sloane Construction Company, our building process, or how we can help you with your next project, call us at (561) 655-9277 or complete the form on the Contact Us page. We look forward to hearing from you.