Important questions to ask a general contractor?

5 Replies

I'm about to hire a GC for a 100K job. I've been burnt many times dealing with contractors and I'd like to avoid it happening again.

What are the questions I need to ask before signing a contract? These are what I've come up with so far-

How long have you been in business?

Can you please provide contact details for 10 clients you've done major remodels?

Where will you be hiring your sub-contractors from and how do you guarantee the quality of their work?

Do you have a criminal record? If yes, please.

Have you ever been sued by a client? 

noone, will give you references for 10 clients. the moment you ask this question, they will not even care for the job. (unless they are a large company, of course).

they will immediately think you are a pain to work with. 

i know how it feels to be burned and it sucks. good luck. to me, finding contractors is the worst part of this business.

I'd be happy to give you references for the last 10 major jobs (I assume that by "Major" you mean $100k or more). Wouldn't take me (or our office manager) more than about 10-15 minutes to put that list together.

Honestly, for a $100k reno I don't think that's an unreasonable request. 

What it will do is filter out a LOT of contractors who haven't worked at that level... most small-time, guy-with-a-truck contractors will just evaporate. You'll be left with people who are either best-in-class (and expensive), or finely tuned ********ters who are slightly less expensive but won't get the job done.

Also ask for licenses and insurance information.

Here's a Contractor Pre-Qualification Form I have posted in my File Place, which is a formalized form which lists many of the questions you mentioned above, including Contractor Experience, References, Insurance & Legal Information.

http://www.biggerpockets.com/files/user/drobertson/file/sample-contractor-prequalification-form

Hi Nat.

We've posted this list of questions on our website. I've shared it on biggerpockets before and it might be too extensive, but at least it should cover all bases. To my knowledge, it's the biggest list of questions to ask a contractor there is available on the internet.

Hope it helps!