What To Know When Hiring A Contractor For A Home Project

Sometimes you have to call in an expert to handle a job that’s beyond your DIY skills.  It’s important to have a good understanding of what questions you should ask your contractor regardless if your project is a small renovation or if you’re building a house from scratch.

Here’s what you need to consider and what questions you should ask when hiring a contractor for a home project.


A good place to begin before hiring a contractor for a home project is to ask people you know for recommendations. This can be especially valuable information if the contractor has done work for them in the past and isn’t simply someone they know.

Ask your friend or family member if you can inspect the job that the contractor performed. Make sure to ask if they had any issues when working with them.

Once you begin to settle in on potential contractors, take the time to search for reviews of their business online, too.


When working with potential contractors, always make sure to ask them if they’re licensed for the type of work that they’re going to be performing in/on your home.

Licensure requirements vary from state to state — most states have online tools to confirm the status of a contractor’s license. Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor for a copy of their license. It doesn’t mean you mistrust them, it’s simply part of your due diligence as a homeowner.

Because they will also be working on your property, you want to make sure that they also carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. Between these two insurances, you as the homeowner will be protected in the event of an accident to person or property due to the work being performed.


Once you’ve got a list of contractors you’re interested in, start getting bids on your project. Getting multiple quotes from several contractors is a good way to give you a clear picture of what you’re being charged for and how each contractor stacks up.

When obtaining an estimate, make sure your contractor comes and does an in-person walkthrough of the project with you. Don’t simply accept a bid from a contractor that’s been given over the phone without them seeing the project.

Take special note of bids that are incredibly low and incredibly high. Ask these contractors why their bids are so much higher or lower than your other estimates.


It’s rare that a project goes exactly, 100% according to plan. Talk with your contractor ahead of time and find out what, if any, challenges they think they may run into.

Sometimes the anticipated challenges will be more obvious, other times they may present themselves along the way. A quality contractor should be willing to be upfront with you about potential challenges before the project even begins.


Your contractor should be able to give you an expected timeline of the project from start to finish. While things like material shortages, weather, or unexpected challenges may delay your project, your contractor should constantly be upfront with you about your project timeline. Make sure that you’re also being realistic and understanding and plan to adjust on your end.


The number one thing to note is: Don’t pay for the entire job upfront!

Discuss how your contractor would like to be paid, but keep in mind you don’t want to pay in cash, nor do you want to make a check payable to an individual (it should be paid to a company).

Depending on the job, some contractors may require an initial down payment in order to pay for materials for the job. Before your project begins, work with your contractor and get the terms and conditions of payment required for your home project in writing.


Contractors will generally warranty their work for a certain period of time. Talk with your contractor ahead of time and find out if they also offer a written warranty. A warranty on parts or service for one year or more should be enough protection for most renovation projects.


Whenever anyone is performing a service for you and money is involved, make sure to get expectations in writing. Not only does this protect you as a homeowner, it protects your contractor should issues arise.

Make sure that your written contract includes a detailed list of the expected work; expected start and completion dates; the agreed upon payment schedule and any guarantees for parts/services. All parties involved should sign the contract and have their own copies.

It should go without saying, but never sign any contract that has sections that are left blank. Any changes to the contract should be agreed upon in writing between you and the contractor. Make sure to keep a file of all of your paperwork related to the project so that you can easily reference it in the future.

Keep in mind the above guidelines may not cover every possible situation. Be sure to do your “due diligence” to ensure a successful project!

Are you ready to get started on your next home project? You can find all of the materials you need to update your bathroom, kitchen, and beyond at Big C Lumber! Contact your local Big C today to find out how we can help.