6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a General Contractor | general contractor md
A general contractor is the right person to handle almost any type of residential remodeling services. But finding the right one in the local area can require a little more work than googling “general contractor MD.” To be sure, that’s a great place to start. But once you find that your general contractor MD search spits out almost 1.9 million results, you’ll figure out that you need to narrow down the list. Here are some interview questions you shouldn’t forget to ask as part of that process:
- Is Your Bid an Estimate, or a Fixed Price?
Some contractors put in bids that are only estimates -- meaning that your remodeling and construction could end up costing way more than you originally intended. If you do accept an estimate, you’ll at least want to see it itemized so you can know where money is allocated (and where you can cut some fat if another area goes over budget).
- How Long Have You Worked Locally?
General contractors work on general remodeling, yes, but what that means in most cases is that they manage many subcontractors to take care of building, plumbing, electrical, etc. Hiring a contractor who has long-term experience in the area makes it more likely that he or she will have better relationships with those subcontractors, resulting in a better timeline and better bottom line.
- Have You Handled This Type of Project Before?
If your project is fairly standard, you’ll have more options. Bathroom remodeling is the most common type in the U.S., accounting for 78% of renovations (kitchen remodeling, accounting for 69% of contractor requests, isn’t far behind). But if you want a more esoteric service, make sure your contractor won’t essentially be experimenting on your home.
- What's Your Experience With Older Homes?
This question might not apply to all homeowners, but is an important one since Maryland boasts so many historic homes. Homes built 30 years ago or more may need new wiring, plumbing, and HVAC, or a new roof and better insulation. It’s important that your contractor be able to budget those possibilities in -- and accomplish such retrofitting without destroying the home’s historic charm.
- Who Will the Foreman on the Project Be?
What many house renovation blogs or other tip sites won’t tell you is that sometimes the general contractor you meet with won’t actually spend much time on the job site. If this will be the case with your project, you should ask to meet with the foreman, too, since he or she will be overseeing the day-to-day logistics.
- Are You Bonded and Insured?
State laws will generally govern insurance minimums, but it never hurts to ask. You should hire a contractor who carries liability insurance, workers’ compensation and property damage insurance to ensure you’re not on the hook should something go wrong with the project.
What else can you do to narrow down the list after typing “general contractor MD” into the search bar? Share your advice or ask questions in the comments.