Hiring a reliable general contractor is the most important step in remodeling your home.
The right contractor can make your project go smoothly and on budget, but the opposite can put your home and finances at risk.
There are numerous contractors available in Tarzana, CA.
When you ask your friends, family, and neighbors for suggestions, you will quickly produce a list of prospects.
You may also do some crowdsourcing on social media or search Google for listings in your area.
Another option is to look at review platforms like Angi and Consumers’ Checkbook or try local hardware stores that sell construction materials to contractors to find a credible one.
On the off chance that none of these options yielded results, you can always consult the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of local members in Tarzana, CA.
The difficult aspect is vetting your candidates to arrive at the right one for your home improvement project.
Asking questions during your initial meeting will help you evaluate whether or not the contractor you’re considering is right for you.
In this blog, we’ve put together a list of questions you can ask your candidates.
12 Questions to Ask a Prospective Contractor in Tarzana
1. How long have you been in business?
Contracting companies that have been operating for a long time usually have a solid track record.
Do your homework on any contractor you’re considering for the task ahead of time.
Company history and other details should be available on their website or social media account.
The rule of thumb is that the longer they’ve been operating, the better.
If you want, you may double-check their response by contacting the Better Business Bureau.
It is recommended that you practice caution when hiring new startup contractors.
Many are unaware that it is quite easy for a contractor to dissolve his organization when faced with a lawsuit, just to reappear as a new company in a couple of months.
Of course, this does not apply to every startup.
2. Do you have a contractor’s license and the necessary insurance?
Different locations may have various regulations when it comes to contractors’ licenses or equivalent certifications.
As a homeowner, you’ll want to ensure that your candidate has obtained all of the essential credentials.
Examining their certificates of insurance is also essential because this will shield you from liability if an accident occurs on your property.
The last thing you want is to get involved in a lawsuit. Contractors should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance tailored to the project at hand.
You may check their license number on the California Contractors State License Board website to see if it’s valid, active and if it’s been subject to any disciplinary action.
3. Will you get the necessary permits and secure the required inspections?
You don’t want to hire a contractor who doesn’t have experience dealing with local building codes, zoning laws, and other regulations that may apply to your project.
It’s important to know that they’ll be able to navigate these complicated processes with ease and make sure that everything stays on track.
Ideally, he should also be able to secure the permits and inspections for you.
4. What is the project’s timeline?
It’s important to ask this question because it will help you determine if you can work with that particular contractor.
If he or she doesn’t have enough time to complete your project, it may cause additional stress and hassle on both ends of the spectrum — yours and theirs.
A professional remodeler will be able to provide you with an estimate of how long it will take to complete all stages of work, including demolition and cleanup.
5. Can you show me a tentative payment schedule?
Before hiring a contractor, make sure they will provide an estimate upfront so you know how much it will cost and when payment is due.
Ask about any additional fees that may be added during construction (such as permit fees), which may increase the total cost of your project.
Needless to say, you should never pay a contractor in full right away.
If he insists on such an arrangement, end the interview and move on to the next candidate.
It is critical to arrange a payment schedule ahead of time and be informed of exactly how much is required and when.
Payments can be arranged by due dates or by project stages completed.
6. Is my project being worked on by a dedicated team?
If you’re hiring a general contractor, be sure he or she has subcontracted out all of the necessary trades (e.g., electrician, plumber) and that they have experience working collaboratively with others on projects like yours.
Ask for documents about the subcontractors and see to it that they’re licensed and skilled too.
7. Who will be my primary point of contact for the project’s duration?
A remodeling company will often assign a contact person for you in case of questions, clarifications, or disputes.
Ask who this will be and make sure the person is reachable in critical times.
This is often the owner or a project manager.
8. Will you make sure to do proper cleaning after the job?
A reliable general contractor will ensure that the job site is clean and well-maintained by the end of each day.
Establish where waste goes and where equipment or materials for the operation can be stored.
9. What measures will you take to safeguard my property?
The contractor should put down tarps or drop cloths to protect your floors and carpets.
They should also cover any appliances, furniture, or other items that can’t be moved.
This will help prevent damage to your home and keep dust from seeping into other rooms.
Some contractors may even provide plastic sheeting for free if you ask them about it before they start working in your home.
10. What will happen in case of additional charges?
Home remodeling may be hard to predict at times because of numerous factors.
When unanticipated problems arise, projects might get more expensive.
A professional contractor should make it clear that they will not go over budget without your consent.
This should be clearly specified in your contract as well.
11. Do you offer a warranty on your services or materials?
A good contractor will offer either a written warranty or an extended service agreement that covers all labor costs related to the job should anything go wrong during the first five years after completion of the project.
You should also ask the contractor what their warranty covers in terms of labor costs versus materials costs.
While most contractors will cover parts for up to one year, some may even cover them for longer than that.
12. How do we deal with errors or disagreements?
Mistakes and conflicts are inevitable and it’s especially true for projects as delicate as a home remodeling.
Inquiring about how a contractor manages disagreements should reassure you that there is a system in place to handle these problems.
If your contractor admits to having had a few conflicts in the past, this shouldn’t instantly warrant fear.
As long as the contractor handled the problem ethically, everything is good.
12 Questions to Ask a Prospective Contractor in Tarzana- Conclusion
With so many different factors in play, it’s crucial that you go into your project with your eyes wide open.
Contractors will have to deal with everything from physical limitations, to governmental laws and regulations, to the unpredictability of the weather.
When you’re interviewing contractors for your renovation project, make sure you take your time and ask all the right questions.
By doing so, there is a greater chance to understand what you should expect and also to judge your contractor’s character.