• I got three different estimates and the prices vary greatly. Why?

    There are a number of different factors that go into pricing a construction/remodeling job. Make sure that every estimate has the same scope of work. If the estimates are so vague that you cannot decipher that information, go back to the contractor for clarification in writing. If you cannot get satisfactory results, eliminate that contractor from future bidding. The level of service given by a contractor greatly affects cost. For example, if the contractor is responsible for choosing materials and other details, the cost will be slightly higher. When a contractor carries all the proper and required insurances, their price will be higher than a "pick-up contractor". Quality of work, although hard to show in a written estimate, is also a factor in costs. This facet of the cost difference is usually only confirmed by checking references or visiting projects the contractor has done in the past.
  • What types of questions should I expect a contractor to ask me when I call for an estimate?

    A contractor should ask you to explain the project, a little about the house or site, and something about yourself including your priorities for the project. Contractors should ask you about a time frame in which you want the project completed. Reputable contractors will make sure to ask about your budget at the very first meeting. They can usually provide a wide range for the cost of a project prior to visiting the site and reviewing the specific details.
  • What key questions should I ask a contractor at our first meeting?

    • How long have you been in business?
    • What is your experience with projects similar to this one?
    • Do you have Liability Insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance?
    • Do you require or carry insurance on your subcontractors?
    • Can you supply me with a list of references?
    • Will you be able to also supply references from your suppliers?
  • How should I handle problems that arise?

    It is important to remember that with any construction project, some problems will inevitably arise. A good contractor will address these issues quickly and implement a solution to the problem. A client should feel comfortable bringing up any and all issues with the contractor knowing that their opinions and observations are respected and a priority.
  • What are change orders and how are they used in a construction project?

    A change order is a form signed by both the client and the contractor that authorizes the contractor to do additional work outside the original scope of work. It is an important way to track any changes made by the client or that were necessary to make because of unforeseen problems.
  • What are warning signs I should be aware of when interviewing contractors?

    It is important to rule out working with any contractor that does not provide proof of insurance. It is just as important to make sure that you feel comfortable with the contractor and the other employees you will be working with. You should also be confident that the contractor is genuinely interested in your project and is respectful of your goals and concerns.
  • What should the proposal from the contractor include?

    The proposal should include a detailed description of the project along with a price for completing the project. Make sure that you are also given a copy of their "proof of insurance" for Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance.
  • My contractor said he is insured. What does that mean?

    Because that could mean a variety of things, make sure to verify that the contractor is insured for both Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance. The Liability Insurance should be in excess of $1,000,000 to protect you from incurring later costs related to potential contractor negligence. Workers Compensation Insurance covers accidents that occur on the construction site to the contractor's employees. Without it, your Homeowner's Policy could be responsible to pay. Make sure to have proof of both insurances before you sign a contract.