Scheduling your first meeting with a contractor feels good! You’ve taken the first step in the journey to remodeling your home to suit your aesthetic, lifestyle, and desires. However, now you’re probably wondering what to expect at that first meeting. Home remodel projects are exciting, but they are often significant investments that our clients worry about getting perfect. To best quiet your nerves and get the most out of the meeting, we suggest preparing for the questions that most contractors will ask at this first meeting. While not all contractors will ask the same questions, some questions are bound to be on almost every list.
During this first meeting, you and the contractor should have an equal amount of back and forth. They will have lots of questions for you, but remember that this is a time for you to interview them as well. Don’t be shy about asking questions; contractors love when clients ask questions rather than feeling lost or nervous about the process.
What Questions They Might Ask
As you prepare for your first meeting with your possible new contractor, here are some of the questions that you’ll want to have the answers to.
Why do you want to remodel?
You might be looking to update the space, completely gut it and design a new floor plan, or you might want to build an addition. Whatever is on your wish list, share it with them. They’ll be able to lead you down the right path as you explore the project more later on down the road.
What problems are you having with your current home?
We recommend walking around the area of your home you want to remodel and listing out all the things you hate about it. Maybe it’s that corner cabinet you bump your hip on all the time or the flooring that never seems to get clean. Write it down and be ready to vent.
What areas of the home are you interested in renovating?
It might not happen all in one go, but we love to hear about all the issues you’re interested in tackling. This gives the contractor a clear idea of how big the project might be.
What are your dreams for the space?
This is less specific and more about how you’d love to use and move about your home. For example, maybe you wish you had more space for holiday celebrations, or perhaps you want to stay in your home longer and need some accessibility features added. Whatever it is, write it down, and don’t worry about getting too specific about ripping down walls or replacing flooring.
What is the timeframe you’d like this project started or completed?
It depends on what’s important for you and the project’s scope, but contractors will want to know your desired timeframe. If you need to have it done before Christmas and they are booked, you’ll have to go with someone else. This is an essential aspect of the project you’ll want to nail down.
What is your budget?
This might be the scariest question on this list. Often homeowners want to hold their budget close to their chest and not share it. However, a contractor can’t give you an accurate idea of what they can do with your budget if you don’t share it. So get very clear about how much you’re willing to invest and then stick to it. A good contractor will be just as intent on protecting your wallet as you are.
What Questions You Should Ask
Now it’s your turn. The contractor has gathered information about you to see if you’re a good fit, and now you get to ask the questions to ensure you’re comfortable with them working on your home. Here are some of the questions we recommend you ask during this first consultation.
How long have you been in business?
It’s recommended to hire a contractor with at least ten years under their belt. Companies come and go in this industry, and you want someone who has a track record for sticking around.
Can you provide references?
Talking to contractors’ references can give you a better idea of what it’s like to work with them.
Can you give me proof of insurance and a certificate of workers’ compensation?
If they don’t have these things in place and, heaven forbid, something were to happen, the liability will likely fall on you. If a contractor doesn’t have this important paperwork in place, walk the other way.
Do you have a written contract before starting work?
You’ll want a written contract detailing all the work that will be going on within your home. Without this, you won’t have anything to hold them accountable if something starts going wrong. A responsible contractor will not only want this to protect you but to protect themselves as well!
Do you have a written warranty in place?
Even with the best of carpenters, things happen. Faucets break, tiles chip, and you’ll want a contractor who won’t just disappear once the work is done.
How will we handle the selection process?
Choosing all the details that will go into your project is long and arduous. If they don’t have a straightforward procedure for handling selections, you might want to consider other options. We recommend going with a Design-Build firm like McDermott Remodeling to ensure the design process is handled correctly.
Will my project have a written schedule that I’ll have access to?
As the project moves forward, sometimes things might happen that impact your progress scheduling. You’ll want to ensure you’ll be updated or have access to an updated schedule, so you always know what’s happening in your home.
When starting your home remodeling journey, there are many things to consider, but hiring the right contractor for your project is the most essential part of ensuring its success. Use these questions to prepare for that first consultation and get your project started on the right foot.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.