Questions to ask your contractor
Whatever your home improvement project is, chances are you’ll be hiring a contractor for some or all of the work. In this guide, we look at the questions to ask your contractor(s) when hiring them to make sure you’re choosing the right person for the job.
Whatever your home improvement project is, chances are you’ll be hiring a contractor for some or all of the work. In this guide, we look at the questions to ask your contractor(s) when hiring them to make sure you’re choosing the right person for your project.
It’s important to ask independent contractors questions that will help you understand their experience, skills and approach to their work. And it’s much better to think about questions to ask before hiring a contractor so that you know if they’re right for your job.
General questions to ask your contractor
Here are some of the most useful independent contractor questions to ask, no matter what type of work they’re doing for you:
- How long have you been working in the industry?
- What qualifications and/or accreditations do you have?
- Do you have relevant insurance to cover your work?
- Can I see examples of your previous work?
- Can you provide me with references from previous customers?
- How much will the work cost, and what are the payment terms?
- How long will it take you to complete the job?
Questions to ask for contractor references
When you’ve been provided with details of previous customers that your contractor has worked for, here are some of the questions to ask a reference for a contractor to really find out what they’re like to work with:
- What type of work did they do for you?
- Did they show up on time?
- Were they responsive and friendly?
- Did they deliver on time and within the budget?
- Were you happy with the finished results?
- Did you have any issues working with them? If so, what were they?
- Would you hire them again?
If you’re planning on following up on references you’ve been provided, it’s always useful to put together a list of contractor reference check questions that are as relevant to the work you’re doing as possible. The more specific questions for contractor references will get more specific answers, which will help you decide if you want to hire the contractor or not.
A great way to get a general overview is to hire a contractor from Checkatrade and have a look at the reviews on their profile.
Questions to ask a painting contractor
When hiring a painter and decorator, you’ll want to know about their ability to paint and deal with related work. Here are some questions to ask a painting contractor:
- What kind of painting jobs do you specialise in?
- Have you done painting work like this before?
- What tools, paint and other materials will you use for the job?
- Who will be carrying out the painting work?
- Can you introduce me to any members of your team that will be working in my home?
- Will you provide protective sheets before you start painting?
- Will you move furniture out of the way, or will you expect that to be done beforehand?
- How many coats of paint will the job require? And how long will each coat take to dry?
- What happens if I don’t like the colour once it’s painted on?
Questions to ask bathroom contractor
Bathroom renovations are one of the most popular home improvement projects, and it’s important to hire the right tradespeople with plumbing experience. Here are some of our suggested questions to ask bathroom contractors:
- What plumbing qualifications do you have?
- Are you and your team members of a bathroom trading organisation?
- Do you offer bathroom design and/or installation services?
- Does the price include supply, installation and any related plumbing work?
- Will you carry out all of the bathroom work, including plumbing, plastering, tiling and other installation?
- Do I need to contact the local water board for this project? Or, will you hand that if needed?
- Which brands do you work with for supplying the bathroom materials?
- Can I see examples of bathroom materials to choose from?
Questions to ask a roofing contractor
For home improvement projects that involve anything to do with the roof of your property, you’ll most likely need a roofing contractor to be involved. With that in mind, these are some of our suggested questions to ask a roofing contractor:
- How much experience do you have working on this type of roof?
- Will you be able to repair the existing roof?
- At what point will you know if you need to repair or replace the roof?
- What are the main issues with the roof?
- Will you provide scaffolding to work on the roof, or do I need to hire that separately?
- Will you have sufficient access to the roof to complete the job safely and efficiently?
- Are there currently any delays with sourcing the roofing materials you need? If so, how long will it take to get hold of them?
- Are you part of a body such as the National Federation of Roofing Contractors?
Questions to ask a contractor when building a house
Building a house is a huge project and one that will involve you asking hundreds of questions along the way. And you shouldn’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. It’s the key to understanding what’s going on and identifying any issues as early as possible.
We can’t list every question you might want to ask during the house build process, but we have put together some of what we consider the most important questions to ask a contractor when building a house:
- How long will the building take?
- What are the various stages of the project, and how long will they take?
- Will you deal with all the paperwork, including planning permission and building regulations?
- Are you, or do you have, the project management for the entirety of the project?
- What warranties are provided as part of the house once it’s complete?
- What standard will the finishes be?
- At what stages will I need to make key decisions, and what will they be?
- Can you provide me with a timeline for the house build?
- What happens if there are delays in sourcing materials, or shortages of tradespeople?
- How will you inform me of changes to the project?
- What are the main challenges I should be aware of for building the house?
- Does the contract include a cost escalation clause?
- How will you ensure that the cost of the house build doesn’t get out of control?
Remember, building a house is a big and expensive project to take on so you should be 100% confident with any contractors that you hire before they start any work. Make sure you’re confident in their skills and experience, and be clear on exactly how much you’ll be paying and when.
Questions to ask remodelling contractors
Remodelling your home is often a complex job with a lot of moving parts, and a lot of different tradespeople involved in the project. To make sure you hire the best person, here are questions to ask remodelling contractors:
- Have you done many remodelling jobs of this scale before?
- Do you have a team of reliable tradespeople you work with regularly?
- Will you be the point of contact throughout the whole remodelling project?
- Do you vet all of the tradespeople you work with for insurance, qualifications and experience?
- What’s the process if a change needs to be made?
As with all home improvement projects, we always recommend obtaining at least three quotes from different tradespeople in your area. You’ll want to shop around to make sure you’re paying a fair and competitive price for the work. And, thankfully, we’ve got a tool that makes finding multiple quotes super easy.
Our request a quote feature is perfect for getting quotes: you post details about the work you need doing and we’ll send it out to local tradespeople in your area. Try it out – it’s quick and easy!