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10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Contractor

What should you ask a contractor before hiring?

Hey there! If you are planning on hiring a renovation contractor, here’s a list of potential questions to ask before you hire.

Remember, the more you get to know your potential contractor before you hire them, the greater the chance of your complete satisfaction.

Take your time and never skip this part!

GENERAL QUESTIONS

If you’re already somewhat familiar with renovation contractors, or dealt with a contractor from any other field, feel free to skip ahead. More in-depth questions to ask before you hire.

However, if this is new territory for you, it’s important not to overlook basic issues during your conversations.

Our motto: ‘Ask Before You Hire’

1. how long have you been in business?

That should be obvious: experience matters. Depending on the scope of the project, you might want to seek more experienced contractors.

However, if you just want to replace a socket, contractors with less experience may not be a bad choice at all.

2. Can you provide references from past clients?

While reviews are usually enough, if you are planning a large project, you might want to ask for references from clients who have had similar projects done. 

3. Are you licensed and insured?

Proper licensing ensures the contractor meets local regulations and standards. Insurance protects you from liability in case of accidents or damage during the project.

This is the most important question you should ALWAYS ask before you hire your contractor.

If you want to know which documents to look for, check our guide on licenses & certifications

4. Do you have experience with projects similar to mine?

Specific experience ensures the contractor understands the nuances of your project type, whether it’s a kitchen remodel, bathroom renovation, or another specialty area.

Custom-designed media wall | Bespoke Furniture by Sweet Homes Edinburgh
Sweet Homes Edinburgh | Custom-designed media wall

Project-Specific Questions

Now we are diving into more in-depth questions.

Depending on the scale, type, and your personal requirements for your project, the answers to these questions might vary. However, there are some general red flags that you should look out for.

1. What is the estimated timeline for my project?

A clear timeline helps set expectations and allows you to plan around the renovation work.

Keep in mind that the nature of renovation and construction work often makes it difficult to meet deadlines. However, what’s important is:

  • What caused the delay
  • How the cause is being handled
  • Is there any compensation

Be reasonable and expect the same in return.

2. Can you provide a detailed written estimate?

A detailed estimate helps you understand the costs involved and compare bids from different contractors. It should include labour, materials, permits, and other expenses. 

Never feel pressured to pay for something you didn’t wanted in the first place (as long as it’s not necessary for other work).

Mind that estimates might often differ from actual costs, but the mismatch should not exceed reasonable amounts.

**If there are any unclear expenses you do not understand, never hesitate to contact the contractor for clarification.**

3. What is your payment schedule?

Understanding the payment schedule helps you manage your finances and ensures there is a clear agreement on when payments are due.

**Be cautious of contractors asking for large upfront payments.**

4. How do you handle unexpected issues or changes in the project?

Renovations often uncover unforeseen problems. Knowing how the contractor deals with these issues can prevent disputes and ensure smooth progress.

Unfortunately, you can rarely be sure whether the contractor will handle problematic situations well. While a well-written agreement can offer some protection, some stress is probably inevitable.

Work Process Questions

5. What is your daily work schedule?

Understanding the contractor’s work schedule helps you plan your day and minimizes disruptions to your routine.

6. How will you protect my property during the renovation?

If you ask before you hire, there’s a lower chance you’ll be unpleasantly surprised. Protection of your home from dust, debris, and damage are a crucial part of any professional contractor.

These are more physical means of protection as compared to the legal agreements. Make sure your contractor is using protective measures adequate to the work performed.

Wall-mounted bookshelf | Joinery and Carpentry by Sweet Homes
Sweet Homes Edinburgh | Wall-mounted bookshelf in progress

7. What is your policy on clean-up?

This somewhat corresponds with the previous point. A clean worksite is safer and less stressful.

Knowing who is responsible for daily clean-up and final clean-up after the project is completed, guarantees peace of mind.

Communication and Warranty

8. How will we communicate throughout the project?

Establishing preferred methods and frequency of updates helps keep everyone on the same page. 

You might also want to ask your contractor to send you some photos of the throughout process if it’s a larger project. This provides additional documentation for you whether something goes south.

9. Do you offer a warranty on your work?

The general rule is that a warranty should be written in plain language, avoid ambiguity, and be easily understandable.

Note that bigger firms might use a lot of legal language to leave a backdoor for voiding your potential claims.

Learn more about construction warranties

10. Can you provide a list of subcontractors who will work on the project?

Knowing who will be involved ensures that you can check if all workers are qualified and reputable. 

Additionally, sometimes contractors might hire a subcontractor without your knowledge to perform work that is outside the scope of their services. This allows them to take a cut of the payment, which you might not agree to if you were aware.

To sum up, these are the questions that without much effort will tell you a lot about your potential contractor. Ask before you hire and save yourself a lot of stress and nerves.

In the meantime, we’re excited to present ourselves as your potential contractor.

Feel free to explore something about us and our services to determine if we’re the perfect ‘match’ for your needs. If so, feel free to reach out to us via your preferred method of contact.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

registered in scotland SC700883

Castlehill 22, Bo'ness eh51 0hw

hello.my.sweet.homes@gmail.com

+44 0785 0251412

Categories
Guides

Construction Licenses and Certificates to Look For

Licenses & certificates in construction

When hiring a contractor for a renovation project, there are specific licenses and insurance documents you should ask for to ensure that the contractor is qualified and properly insured. 

Whether you are looking for documents to confirm your potential contractor’s credibility or you own a company and want to become more professional, this article will help you.

Licenses and Certifications

  1. Popular Trade Associations
  2. Certificates and Registries
    • Gas Safe Register Certification: Required for any contractor working with gas appliances. This ensures they are qualified to handle gas installations safely.
    • NICEIC or SELECT Certification: For electrical work, ensure the contractor is registered with either NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or SELECT (The Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland).
    • Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card: Contractors should hold a valid CSCS card, which demonstrates they have the necessary training and qualifications for the type of work they are undertaking (usually only used on large construction sites)

Insurance Documents

1. Public Liability Insurance:

  • Ask For: A certificate showing the contractor’s public liability insurance, which covers damages to your property or injuries to third parties that might occur during the project.
  • Coverage Amount: Ideally, this should be at least £1 million, but higher coverage may be preferable for larger projects.

Public liability insurance is not compulsory by law.

Sweet Homes Edinburgh | Certificate of Insurance

Sample Certificate of Insurance

2. Employer’s Liability Insurance:

  • Ask For: Proof of employer’s liability insurance, which is required by law if the contractor employs staff. This covers claims from employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work.
  • Coverage Amount: The legal minimum is £5 million.

Public liability insurance is compulsory by law.

Learn more about Employer’s Liability Insurance on Employers’ liability insurance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

3. Contractors’ All Risks Insurance:

  • Ask For: Documentation showing that the contractor has contractors’ all risks (CAR) insurance. This covers the construction work and materials on-site against damage or loss.

Verification

1. Check the Contractor’s Details:

  • Verify Credentials: Use online resources to verify the contractor’s licenses and memberships. For instance, you can check the Gas Safe Register online or the NICEIC and SELECT websites for electrical contractors.
  • Request Copies: Ask for physical or digital copies of all licenses and insurance documents, and verify their validity by contacting the issuing bodies if necessary.

These documents will allow you to assess whether the contractor you’d like to hire meets all necessary legal obligations and follows additional good practices that ensure the safety of you, your property, and the contractor’s personnel and equipment.

registered in scotland SC700883

Castlehill 22, Bo'ness eh51 0hw

hello.my.sweet.homes@gmail.com

+44 0785 0251412

Categories
Guides

Home, Renovation, Contractors, Services All You Need To Know

SWEET HOMES Edinburgh | Guides

Welcome to the Sweet Homes Edinburgh Guides section! Home, Renovation, Contractors, Services we cover everything related with property refurbishment Here, we aim to provide you with comprehensive guides to assist with your renovations.

We’ll show you how and where to find contractors, as well as what to watch out for during your renovation projects. Our guides include practical examples to ensure your renovations go as smoothly as possible.

guides | Home, Renovation, Contractors, Services

If you are planning on hiring a renovation contractor, here’s a list of potential questions to ask before you hire.

Remember, the more you get to know your potential contractor before you hire them, the greater the chance of your complete satisfaction.

Take your time and never skip this part!

author: Aleksander Rogowski

Published: 03.06.2024

guides | Home, Renovation, Contractors, Services

When hiring a contractor for a renovation project, there are specific licenses and insurance documents you should ask for to ensure that the contractor is qualified and properly insured. 

Whether you are looking for documents to confirm your potential contractor’s credibility or you own a company and want to become more professional, this article will help you.

author: Aleksander Rogowski

Published: 03.06.2024

Dining area, bespoke boiler enclosure cupboard, stelrad column radiators | Bespoke Furniture by Sweet Homes

Bathroom & Kitchen Contractor Guide

Hey there! Ready for new bathroom and kitchen fitting?

Let’s find you the perfect contractor! In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through finding the ideal bathroom and kitchen fitting contractor.

author: Aleksander Rogowski

Dining area, bespoke boiler enclosure cupboard, stelrad column radiators | Bespoke Furniture by Sweet Homes

Bathroom & Kitchen Contractor Guide

Hey there! Ready for new bathroom and kitchen fitting?

Let’s find you the perfect contractor! In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through finding the ideal bathroom and kitchen fitting contractor.

author: Aleksander Rogowski

Sweet Homes | Fitted kitchen from Howdens

Bathroom & Kitchen Contractor Guide

Hey there! Ready for new bathroom and kitchen fitting?

Let’s find you the perfect contractor! In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through finding the ideal bathroom and kitchen fitting contractor.

author: Aleksander Rogowski

Sweet Homes | Fitted kitchen from Howdens

Bathroom & Kitchen Contractor Guide

Hey there! Ready for new bathroom and kitchen fitting?

Let’s find you the perfect contractor! In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through finding the ideal bathroom and kitchen fitting contractor.

author: Aleksander Rogowski

More guides soon...

registered in scotland SC700883

Castlehill 22, Bo'ness eh51 0hw

hello.my.sweet.homes@gmail.com

+44 0785 0251412

Categories
Guides

How To Find The Best Bathroom And Kitchen Fitting Contractor: What you need to know

How to Find The Best Bathroom and Kitchen Fitting Contractor: What you need to know

Hey there! Ready for new bathroom and kitchen fitting?

Let’s find you the perfect contractor! In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through finding the ideal bathroom and kitchen fitting contractor.

Step 1: Check Out Their Credentials

First things first, make sure your contractor has all the right certifications and insurance.

Look for badges like;

  • Gas Safe Register for gas work 
  • NICEIC for electrical stuff

And of course, they need to have insurance to cover any mishaps during the project.

Step 2: Know What You Want

Got your contractor’s details down? Great! Now, let’s nail down exactly what you need.

Figure out your budget, the scope of your project, and any specific features or designs you’re after. Knowing what you want will help you find a contractor who’s a perfect fit.

Step 3: Do Some Detective Work

Time to hunt for potential contractors. Look for ones with solid experience in bathroom and kitchen makeovers and a reputation for quality work.

Looking for photos that resemble your ideas might be a good way of matching your aesthetics to the specific contractor.

Elegant bespoke gray kitchen with ambient lighting | Bespoke Furniture by Sweet Homes
Sweet Homes Edinburgh | Elegant Bespoke Kitchen with Ambient Lighting

Ask friends, check online reviews – build yourself a shortlist of promising candidates.

Step 4: Dig into Reviews

Before you make any decisions, do your homework.

Read up on reviews and testimonials from past clients. They’ll give you the lowdown on what it’s like to work with these contractors and how their projects turned out.

Check sites like;

Additionally when evaluating a contractor, it’s essential to consider more than just the quality of their work. Pay attention to their

  • work ethic,
  • communication skills,
  • punctuality,
  • attention to detail,
  • ability to handle unexpected situations.

These aspects are important factors to watch for when reviewing contractors. We will elaborate in next steps.

Step 5: Talk It Out

As pointed in the previous point, communication is key, folks!

Try to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to your shortlisted contractors! See how they vibe. Are they  responsive, upfront, and totally on board with your ideas? If so, this is definitely a good sign! 

Remember that this step stays true throughout the entire renovation process..

We know that social interactions can be off-putting, but we also know that this is the best way to know your potential contractor!

Step 6: Pay Attention to Detail

Details matter, especially in bathroom and kitchen makeovers. Check out past projects and look for signs of careful planning, precise work, and quality finishes.

Look for evidence of thoughtful design choices, such as grout lines, trim work, and hardware placement.

A contractor who sweats the small stuff is a winner.

Bathroom and Kitchen Fitting

A contractor who sweats the small stuff is a winner.

Step 7: Safety First

Safety should always come first on the job site.

Make sure your contractor follows strict safety rules to keep everyone – workers, clients and their stuff – safe and sound.

Step 8: Project Management Skills

Certainly a solid project manager can make all the difference.

Look for a contractor who’s a pro at scheduling, coordinating with other trades, and managing the budget. It’ll keep your project on track and stress-free.

Step 9: Problem-Solving Pro

Expect the unexpected, especially in renovation projects. Find a contractor who’s a creative problem-solver – someone who can tackle any curveballs that come their way. 

Customers often mention unexpected situations that happen during renovation. Pay attention to how the contractor  is portrayed in relation to managing such situations.

Step 10: Eco-Friendly Options

Also, if you are thinking green? Consider a contractor who uses sustainable practices and materials. It’s good for the planet and adds a touch of eco-chic to your revamp. 

Step 11: Happy Clients, Happy Life

At the end of the day, it’s all about client satisfaction.

Pick a contractor who goes above and beyond to make their clients happy. Stellar service and a commitment to excellence – that’s what you’re after.

To sum up, follow these steps, and you’ll find the perfect bathroom and kitchen fitting contractor in no time!

In the meantime, we’re excited to present ourselves as your potential first contractor.

Feel free to explore something about us and our services to determine if we’re the perfect ‘match’ for your needs. If so, feel free to reach out to us via your preferred method of contact.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

registered in scotland SC700883

Castlehill 22, Bo'ness eh51 0hw

hello.my.sweet.homes@gmail.com

+44 0785 0251412