How to Interview Your Contractor
Why should I hire your company to renovate my home?
You're embarking on a once in a lifetime investment. Choose carefully and you'll have the peace of mind that you deserve. Rush the decision and you may regret it later. Do your research before it's too late. Here are my top factors to consider.
1. How long has the company been in business?
The failure rate is very high in the remodeling industry. 50% of construction companies will be out of business within 5 years, 90% will be out of business within 10 years. Where does that leave you and your "lifetime warranty"?
When choosing a firm to contract with, give more consideration to companies that have a proven track record to succeed.
- The top 50% (companies that have been in business for 5 years or more)
- The top 10% (companies that have been in business for 10 years or more)
2. Find out what people are saying about them, read reviews.
Pay particular attention to reviews from people that have actually been through the process with the firm. Not just someone that didn't get along with the salesperson so they decided to buy from someone else.
Reviews are pretty easier to find. Simply search Google for the company. With that, you'll find Google reviews and links to Yelp reviews, Angie's List, BBB, Facebook, etc.
3. Where do they stand with the manufacturer?
James Hardie (Contractor Alliance™ Program), GAF (Master Elite® Roofing Contractors Program), Owens Corning (Preferred Contractor Program), etc. provide different tiers for contractors to achieve. This information will give you valuable insight into the quality of their work; from the manufacturers perspective.
In order to participate in these programs their jobs receive "random and regular audits." These audits are completed by a field inspector who is employed by the manufacturer. The combination of the number of jobs completed, audit scores, and the customers "likely to recommend" ratings, all have an effect on the level they achieve in the manufacturer's program. The higher their level, the better job they're doing in these areas.
4. Make sure their contractor's license, insurance, and business license are all in good standing.
Since the websites vary by state; I suggest simply searching Google for:
- "contractor license lookup (state)"
- "business license lookup (state)"
5. The price of your (roof or siding) project is largely affected by the "number of squares".
Make sure that your contractor has a way to get accurate measurements. Don't accept the "I've been doing this for a long time so I know this home is X number of squares".
If they do take the time to measure your home, ask them to go over with you the information they came up with.
- E.g. "Please show me how you came up with your measurements"
This will expose if they have a "system" for measuring or if they're "just winging it". This is also a good way to see the attention to detail and level of professionalism that the company operates with.
6. Verify that the information is accurate.
You don't want to sign a contract to find out that they were a couple of squares off.
- Short on squares means you'll be paying more than the original agreement.
- Heavy on squares means you're paying more than you should be.
The best solution for all parties involved would be to simply use the services that are available, to ensure accuracy.
- You can do this by ordering a HOVER of your home at www.hover.to or instruct your contractor to do it for you.
- If your contractor participates in the manufacturer's program, they can get the HOVER report at a significantly reduced rate.
7. Now that you know who you're going to hire, and that you can trust their measurements/pricing, it's time to talk about design.
Don't attempt to make a design decision based on a small sample of the product.
HOVER provides design features that take out the guesswork by showing you exactly what your home will look like. You can see what different products and colors will look like on an interactive 3D model of YOUR home.
I have helped many homeowners through this process that were faced with the same decisions that you are. I would be happy address any specific questions you may have. Feel free to contact me anytime.