Most Asked Questions of Home Improvement Contractors
Contractors share the short list of questions they are usually asked by homeowners and offer a list of questions they recommend you ask.
You would think that launching an entire remodeling project would spark a truckload of questions from wary homeowners who have heard the horror stories surrounding the world of remodeling. Surprisingly, though, contractor members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) admit they aren't asked enough questions!
"Timing and money are about the extent of the questions we hear," says John Stanforth of John Stanforth Construction, a member of the Miami Valley NARI Chapter in Ohio. "During an interview with a homeowner when homeowners should be asking about my credentials and verifying my business practices all I hear is: when can you start? when will it be finished? and how much will it cost?"
These questions aren't enough. Yes, timing may be "everything" in comedy, but that certainly isn't the case when it comes to remodeling. If you are going to have a successful remodeling project, you need to learn the right questions to ask and how to ask them.
When a group of NARI remodeling contractors were asked what questions homeowners asked most frequently, the group unanimously agreed that their most popular queries were:
Unfortunately, these are not the type of questions that are going to tell you much about a particular remodeling contractor.
"While a reasonable timetable is important," says Stanforth, "it shouldn't be the primary focus of an interview or a job - neither should budget. Homeowners should be focusing on trust and quality. If you find someone who is reputable and trustworthy, the budget and timeline will fall into place."
He recommends homeowners start by asking questions about a company's business practices and experience in a similar type of home remodeling project. If you decide you want to hire a particular contractor, then you can discuss when he or she can start, what time he or she can knock on your door each morning and when you will have your home to yourselves again. These are all items that can be discussed at a pre-construction meeting.
Here are some questions NARI members recommend you ask before signing a remodeling contract:
It's also important to realize that sometimes it's not the answers you get that are significant, but what you don't get. Asking the right questions is not enough. You need to pay attention to your instincts and to what information is missing.
Unlike your accountant or stockbroker, your home improvement contractor will be a part of your daily life and available for some on-the-job education. He or she will be privy to your personal life, more so than your doctor or lawyer. Your contractor will know how you look early in the morning and how well behaved your dog is. It makes sense that you should take some time to carefully select this person and make sure that it is someone you can ask questions of.
Once you do find that person, you can get down to asking the more interesting questions like: What exactly is a sleeper and a cricket? What do alligators have to do with painting? And what do aprons have to do with remodeling?
Remodeling can be a fun experience. You get to create your dream room or home and learn a little about design and building along the way. All you need to do is ask questions. Questions that, according to NARI members, remodelers don't feel they are hearing enough. So tap into your curiosity and ask away.
Information provided by www.nari.org.
To help consumers through the process, NARI's website at www.RemodelToday.com offers many tips under the "Home Owners" section and also offers a search engine to help locate a contractor or chapter in your area. NARI also offers a free brochure, "How to Select a Remodeling Professional," to consumers who call (402) 331-1718 or complete the feedback form on the last page of this website.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. With more than 5800 members nationwide, the Association -- based in Des Plaines, Illinois, -- is "The Voice of the Remodeling Industry"TM. For membership information, contact the local NARI office at (402) 331-1718.