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Questions to ask your General Contractor BEFORE you hire them

so you’re about to start a home remodel…congratulations!

you might be a bit overwhelmed, but there is nothing to fear. if organized correctly, your remodel will be a very rewarding process! 

the first thing you are likely doing is contacting local general contractors and receiving bids. the most important thing to set yourself up for success is to ask the right questions upfront and establish a clear communication style with your contractor. make sure the expectation and timeline are clear and that there is mutual agreement. 

below you will find a list of questions we asked (or WISHED) we asked our contractors. stick to this list and you will be so far ahead of the game! 

T’s tips for hiring a general contractor! 

+ how many jobs do you have in progress right now? how many laborers do you delegate to each job? do they rotate jobs or stay for the duration of each project? 

+ what time can I expect your crew to arrive on site every day? what time can I expect the crew to work until each day? 

+ will I have a consistent point of content on my job site each day, leading the crew? is this who I should direct my questions to?

+ after providing a quote, can you provide a weekly schedule detailing  what will be accomplished until job completion? 

+ what are your payment terms?

+ do you buy all materials and also pay subcontractors, or will I be required to do so? 

+ do you source subcontractor bids, or will I be required to do so?

There are two popular ways to pay for your home remodel:

  • Firm price – before you start the project, your contractor gives you a quote on everything from demo, to framing, sheetrock, paint and more! this is ideal so you know how much you are in for. many of the bids we received ranged from $100-$150 per square foot, but we felt this unit of measurement was not detailed enough to provide a comprehensive bid, so we asked for a breakdown of costs. note: If your home is an older home needing a lot of work, make sure to leave a hefty margin for “unknown costs” that arise. 
  • T&M ( Time and Materials) – the contractor bills you each employees hourly rate plus material costs usually bimonthly. as you can imagine, this can add up fast. Dan and I did this for a project and it ended up being a nightmare as employees were saying they worked 10 hours, but were working more like 5 hours. this does not make for a smooth relationship with the general contractor and it takes a lot of oversight on your part. if you do decide to pay T&M, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are being billed for (travel time, lunch breaks, etc…).

well, I hope this helps you feel more prepared meeting your contractor! i have no doubt you will rock your first meeting!

best of luck!



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