Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor – Pt 4

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Our series continues on the Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor; it’s all about communication between the client and the contractor. One Man and a Hammer uses an online tool called Co-Construct ( to manage all aspects of the project including communication with each client and it’s proven time and time again to be instrumental in the success of each project.


Last time we talked about number five and number six of the top ten questions you should ask your remodeling contractor. Number five was: Will the remodeler provide design/build services or build from your architect’s plans? Or will they work either way? And number six was: How can I be sure that the remodeler will build what was agreed upon and within budget? You can check for those answers on my video blog at and actually see all of our video blogs for the last several weeks in this series of top ten questions you should ask your remodeling contractor.

This week, we’re going to move on to number seven and number eight. Number seven is: How will the homeowner and contractor communicate during the project? Is that important? Yes, very.

When you’re doing a kitchen or a major remodel, we’re not talking about handyman work here for a day or two, but when you hire a contractor to work in your home for the next four, five, six weeks, maybe a couple of months if it’s an addition, there’s got to be a way for everybody to communicate. Here at One Man and A Hammer, we use a program called Co-Construct. It’s our online web-based portal that captures all communications, whether it’s selections, it’s comments, it’s questions, it’s a change order. Many, many things go on to Co-Construct. Again, there’s a couple of programs like it out there.

But if your contractor does not have some type of program, you want to make sure that you do have a way to communicate. Maybe it’s a simple legal pad that you can date and write a question on, and he or she can answer. Maybe you guys are going to use text. Maybe it’s going to be strictly email. Whatever it may be, you want to make sure it’s something that captures all of the questions and answers, because what you’re talking about today is going to be long forgotten in four or five weeks after everything else that goes on. So communication, very, very important.

Then again, as the job progresses, chances are you’ll probably get into a change order. So that’s number eight today is: How are change orders and/or extras handled?

Change orders, it’s a slippery slope. When it comes to remodeling, change orders are going to happen. When you start tearing out walls and tearing up plumbing, you never know what’s back there, so a change order is going to come along.

Bottom line is you want to make sure you both agree to how that’s going to be handled. Is it going to be written and everyone’s going to sign off on it before they do the work? Or is it going to be call and say, “Hi, Mrs. Home Owner, we’re going to go ahead. We found some bad plumbing back here. We’re going to fix and we’ll bill you at the end of the job.” Not many people are real comfortable with that, although many contractors like to do business that way. All of a sudden at the end of the job, you get a bill and you say, “Well, what’s the extra $3,000 for?” That creates a lot of resentment and a bad, just a sour taste in everybody’s mouth.

So make sure that change orders are written, they’re signed before any work can proceed. At One Man and A Hammer, we do ask that all change orders be paid for 100% upfront. That is not unusual for professional contractors. So understand how they’re going to be done, what they’re going to be written on, how they’re going to be communicated, and how they’re going to be paid for, and everybody’s signed off on everything. Make sure you get yourself a copy.

That’s it for today everybody. We’ll see you next time with numbers nine and ten to end up our series on the top ten questions you should ask a remodeling contractor. See you then.

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