Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a General Contractor


Choosing the right general contractor for your construction project is a critical decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your endeavor. This choice will influence not only the quality of the work but also the efficiency of the process and your overall satisfaction.

As such, asking the right questions before hiring a general contractor is essential. This article aims to guide you through those vital inquiries, helping you to make an informed and confident decision.

1. Do You Have a Contractor’s License and Insurance?

Verifying a contractor’s license and insurance is not just a formality but a critical safeguard. A licensed contractor complies with state regulations, guaranteeing a certain level of professionalism and competence. Insurance, particularly worker’s compensation, protects you from potential financial liabilities if accidents occur on-site.

2. What’s Your Background and Experience?

Understanding a contractor’s background and experience gives you insight into their capability and reliability. Ask how long they’ve been in business, and the number of projects they’ve completed. An established tenure doesn’t always equate to experience, so asking about specific past projects, especially those similar to yours, is important. This will give you a sense of their ability to deliver within the required timeframe.

3. Provide a List of Past Client Referrals

While it’s essential to trust your gut when hiring a contractor, it’s also wise to hear from people who’ve been in your shoes. Request a list of past clients who can provide honest feedback about their experiences. Contact these references to understand their project, the challenges faced, and how the contractor managed them. This step will provide you with a well-rounded view of the contractor’s work ethic, dependability, and problem-solving skills, ensuring a confident decision.

4. Will You Take Care of Permits?

Securing necessary permits is a crucial part of any construction project, and your contractor’s willingness to manage this process can significantly ease your burden. This task involves understanding what permits are required, applying for them, and scheduling inspections.

Common permits may include those for building projects, plumbing, and electric work, or special projects like fireplaces and decks. This ability indicates the contractor’s professional efficiency and willingness to provide comprehensive services.

5. What Is Your Schedule?

Asking about the contractor’s schedule will reveal their level of organization and commitment to your project. This includes daily start and end times for the crew, and the projected completion date. Also, ask them to provide a milestone schedule to help you track progress and ensure they are on course to meet the agreed deadline.

A well-defined schedule signifies a contractor’s professionalism and reduces the potential for project delays.

6. What Is Your Estimated Timeline for Completion?

An estimated timeline for completion provides a realistic view of when your project will be finished. Ask your contractor to provide this, along with milestones that help monitor progress. Additionally, check if your contractor has upcoming commitments that might rush your project or cause delays.

Having a clear timeline and understanding potential issues allows you to coordinate your plans better and ensures your contractor is dedicated to your project until completion.

7. Will There Be Subcontractors on This Project?

Subcontractors often play a vital role in construction projects. You must know if the contractor plans to use them, and for which tasks. If they do, inquire about their selection process, how they oversee the subcontractors’ work, and if there will be a consistent team throughout the project.

This information will provide insight into the organization of the project and the continuity of the work, which are key factors in the overall quality and timely completion.

8. What’s Your Method of Contract Delivery?

Understanding the contractor’s preferred contract delivery method is essential in assessing the project’s potential cost and timeline. Whether it’s Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, or Construction Manager at Risk, each method has unique implications on the contractor’s role, project cost, and execution speed. Your comfort and familiarity with a method can impact your decision.

9. How Will Payment Work?

The payment structure is a key aspect to discuss upfront. You should understand the contractor’s payment schedule, preferred payment method, and any required deposits. This ensures your financial preparation and helps avoid any misunderstandings or disputes down the line.

10. How Do You Prefer to be Contacted?

It’s important to establish clear communication with your general contractor from the start. Ask how they prefer to be contacted, whether it’s through phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings. This will help you determine the best way to reach them for updates and questions throughout the project.

11. Will You Clean Up?

Post-construction cleanup is as important as the construction work itself. Inquire about the contractor’s clean-up process. Will they remove construction debris and leftover materials, and leave the site in a presentable state? A responsible contractor will ensure that the site is clean, safe, and ready for use upon project completion.

12. Is There a Warranty for the Services and Materials Involved?

Asking about a warranty ensures you aren’t left with unforeseen repair costs after the construction is complete. A reputable contractor will offer a warranty for their work and the materials used. This warranty should cover any defects resulting from poor workmanship or substandard materials. Be sure to ask about the duration of the warranty and what is specifically covered.

On Best and Fast site, you can find a variety of highly recommended general contractors near you for your next construction project.

13. How Do You Resolve Disagreements?

Disagreements may arise during construction projects. Understanding a contractor’s approach to conflict resolution is crucial to ensure a smooth process. Ask them about their strategies for addressing disagreements, whether it’s with clients, subcontractors, or suppliers.

A contractor who has effective conflict resolution techniques can help prevent small issues from escalating into bigger problems, ensuring that the project stays on track and maintains a positive environment.

14. What is Your Approach to Change Orders?

Change orders may occur due to unforeseen circumstances or alterations in design specifications. Find out how your contractor handles these situations. This includes their process for pricing, approving, and implementing changes.

Ensuring a transparent, systematic change order process will help keep your project within budget and maintain a harmonious working relationship.

15. How Do You Handle Changes and Additional Requests?

Asking about how a contractor handles changes and additional requests is crucial to ensure that your project stays on track and within budget. A reputable contractor should have a clear process in place for addressing these situations, including obtaining approval and adjusting the timeline if necessary. This will help prevent surprise fees or delays, ensuring a smooth and transparent communication between you and your contractor.

In conclusion

In conclusion, selecting a general contractor necessitates careful consideration and clear communication. Asking these questions will aid in ensuring a smooth, efficient, and satisfactory project. Remember, the key to a successful construction project lies in your ability to choose the right contractor.


  • Jane Moore

    Meet Jane, a passionate blogger with a love for all things creative. From DIY projects to healthy recipes, Jane enjoys sharing her ideas and experiences with her readers. She believes that everyone has a unique story to tell, and hopes to inspire others to explore their creativity and pursue their passions. Follow along as Jane shares her journey and tips for living a fulfilling life.

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