Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor – Pt.2

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Part 2 of 5 and this week, questions #3 and #4. Bob talks about using tradesmen or contractors, also how much $$ should you put down on your remodeling project?


Last week, we covered number one and number two of the top 10 questions you should ask a remodeling contractor. Hi everybody, Bob Gallese with One Man and A Hammer, and 

Last week, we talked about number one, who will be in charge of the job once it starts, and number two, can I get that in writing? And we talked about everything being on Co-Constructor, some type of web-based portal, when it comes to putting everything in writing. And of course, having somebody in charge of the job as the job progresses – who’s going to be in charge, who’s going to be your main contact. 

This week, we’re going to talk about number three and number four. Number three, do you use subcontractors, or do you employ tradesmen? Why would that matter? Well, it matters for a few reasons. Number one, when a contractor shows you his insurances – workman’s comp and liability – that covers him and his employees. It does not cover subcontractors. And this has gotten some people into a lot of hot water over the years. So, make sure that you understand who’s going to be working in your home. Are they employed tradesmen, or are they subcontractors? If they’re subcontractors, simply ask for their proof of insurances. Again, workman’s comp and liability insurance. 

The second reason is, you want to know about subcontractors or employed tradesman, is quality control and timeliness. An employee of a remodeling company, such as One Man and A Hammer, when they’re given a job, they’ve got nowhere else to go. They’re not going to start your job and go jump to that job, and go jump to job number three, and try to keep everybody happy. That bridge ends up collapsing at some point, and hopefully, you’re not under that bridge when it does collapse. And as far as quality control goes, again, employees of a remodeling company have learned the way it’s to be done for that employer, such as myself. My guys know that I’m a picky guy, so they’re going to make sure I don’t come over there and make them redo something. And quite frankly, luckily I don’t have to worry about that with my guys. 

Once in awhile, they make their mistakes like everybody does, but we correct them. The bottom line is, typically my people are employed, unless we get into a bigger project for like, plumbing or electrical, then we have to bring in subcontractors that we’ve worked with for years and years and years. So, you want to understand the relationship, also, between the contractor and the potential subcontractor. 

Number four, what do I have to put down? How much money should you give a contractor? Well, that varies. When you have custom windows for instance, going in, we ask for 50% down. Just in case something happens to the client between the time of ordering and the time of delivery, you know, at least the cost of the windows is covered; at least some of the cost of the windows is covered. Same thing with cabinetry in a kitchen or bath remodel. We like to get at least 25% down. Most of our jobs, we require 35% down. 

Then, we use progress payments, which once again, are very clearly spelled out in our proposal and on Co-Construct, again, our web-based portal. So, make sure that you do have a clear understanding of what’s to be put down and what’s to happen the moment you put that money down. How soon will cabinets be ordered or windows be ordered, for instance. You also want to make sure, as the job progresses, how will you be making payments? Is it just going to be when the contractor needs money for his mortgage, or his muffler falls off and needs to replace it? You hear all these… these heart string, these tales of woe from contractors. You want it scheduled, you want it written down. Upon completion of dry wall, you’re going to give me another 10%. Upon completion of tile, you’re going to give me 10%. That’s how One Man and A Hammer does it, that’s how most professionals do it. 

Next week, we’re going to go ahead and give you number five and number six. So come on back and we’ll see you then.

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