You’ve decided to take on a home remodeling project.
Agoura Hills, CA, has a large number of contractors to choose from.
Once you’ve asked your friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations, you’ll quickly compile a list of prospects.
You may also use social media for crowdsourcing ideas or just run a google search to look for postings in your region.
The difficult aspect is actually vetting your prospective contractors in order to hire the best.
We’ve put up a brief tutorial on interviewing candidates to assist you with this.
What To Look For In a Remodeling Contractor In Agoura Hills, CA
1. Verify their credentials
Confirm that prospective contractors are licensed, bonded, and insured in the state of California while interviewing them.
This is the threshold question since if they don’t answer yes to any of these, they aren’t worth interviewing.
While the chances of getting to the interview stage with an unlicensed contractor are minimal, it’s never a bad idea to double-check.
A license certifies that they have finished the necessary training and passed a test on local construction codes.
Bonding protects you from contractor theft or damage, while insurance protects you from responsibility coming from on-site incidents.
You may look up a license number on the California Contractors State License Board website to see if it’s legitimate, current and if it’s been subject to any disciplinary action.
2. Inquire about the company’s history
The amount of time a contractor has been in business speaks volumes about his capability and track record.
The general rule is that the longer they have been in business, the better.
Inquire about the company’s history, and if necessary, confirm this information by consulting the Better Business Bureau.
When working with new startup contractors, it is typically recommended that a homeowner errs on the side of caution.
Many people are unaware that when a contractor gets sued, it is relatively easy for him to close his firm and relaunch as a new company in a couple of months.
This, of course, does not apply to all startups.
3. Request a list of references
A professional contractor should be delighted to give references to attest to his work and business practices.
Recommendations from prior consumers are usually sufficient, but you may also inquire about references from banks or material suppliers.
Please take note of this step since it is an excellent practice to contact or visit his past clients to inspect the completed projects firsthand.
When you choose to just call these references, ask relevant questions about their experience with the contractor.
4. Request a portfolio of past work
Most contractors will be happy to show you a portfolio of prior work, either online or in person.
Examine this gallery and ask pertinent questions.
This stage will help you understand his work style and quality.
5. Find out whether they’ve worked on similar projects before
The home improvement market is a broad one, with different contractors specializing in different areas.
A contractor that excels in bathroom remodels, for example, could struggle with a living room restoration.
However, many reputable general contractors are adaptable, particularly if they’ve been in business for a while.
Even so, it’s best to go with the one who has the most relevant experience for your project.
6. Present your concept and ask for their thoughts
The manner in which they study your proposal will reveal a great deal about them.
A competent contractor will accept your plans with respect and offer some professional advice.
You can typically tell how competent they are by how they give ideas and ask critical questions.
7. Request a material cost estimate
A skilled contractor would be able to offer a professional and thorough estimate of the project’s materials.
He’d also have a good knowledge of where to get such items.
8. Inquire about required permits and inspections
Permits and inspections are not required for all home improvement projects, but most of those involving structural changes do.
Your contractor should know what permits you’ll need, how to get them and be prepared to get them for you.
9. Ask about the timeline for the project
Contractors must be entirely transparent about when the work will begin and end and any variables that may cause the schedule to be disrupted.
Make sure to inquire about how modifications will be handled.
It’s preferable if they respond to these questions with more detail.
Be wary of contractors that make lofty promises about completion times only to fall short.
10. Clarify the payment plan
The BBB cautions against paying contractors in full immediately, and a reputable contractor should not pressure you to do so.
However, the fact that he asks for a modest down payment is still appropriate.
End the interview and move on to the next candidate if the contractor demands full payment upfront.
It’s crucial to talk about payment plans ahead of time and understand exactly how much and when you’ll need to pay.
Payments might be based on due dates or fulfilled milestones.
In any case, double-check that you’re on the same page.
11. Find out whether the project will have a dedicated crew
Contractors may work on many projects at once or enlist the help of subcontractors.
For the purpose of continuity, make sure you can rely on the same team from commencement until the task is completed.
Inquire about subcontractors’ credentials and whether the same insurance covers them.
12. Determine your primary point of contact during the project
The project must have a designated contact person.
To be safe, find out when they are available and how they want to be contacted.
This person is usually the company’s owner or a project manager assigned to your property.
Make sure that they can be reached for queries and explanations at appropriate times.
13. Inquire about their property-safety policies
Your contractor should be willing to go to reasonable lengths to protect your property.
This might entail covering large furniture with tarps or completely removing specific items from the job site.
14. Ask about how unexpected charges will be handled
At times, home renovation may be a hit-or-miss scenario, and projects may become more expensive if unforeseen issues arise.
A good contractor should clarify that they will not exceed the budget unless you permit them.
This should also be included in your contract.
15. Inquire about warranties they offer on the job and materials
The majority of contractors back up their work with a warranty.
It’s vital to know what it entails and how long it’ll be in effect.
Furthermore, a manufacturer’s warranty can cover the materials you will use on your project.
Get copies of all of these documents before any renovation work begins.
16. Pay attention to their demeanor and look
We don’t recommend passing judgment on them during this interview, just to be clear.
Simply watch their behavior to see if they are friendly and attentive.
Examine their appearance to determine whether they are presentable and if they have made any effort to meet with you.
You’re well within your rights to refuse a contractor that makes you feel uncomfortable, so trust your instincts.
Conclusion on How to Interview Contractors in Agoura Hills
This article should provide you with an essential foundation for conducting contractor interviews.
It may not work in every situation, but it will help you get a feel of whether or not you can imagine yourself working well with this specific contractor by guiding you through some of the essential questions you should ask.
By following this interview guide, you might land one of the most reliable general contractors in the area.