Put On Your Hard Hat: Choosing A Contractor

RD - Pink hard hat
My family is about to live through a serious home renovation.  We love our home, but it has been virtually untouched since it was built in the late 1920’s so when I say it will be a “serious” renovation, I am not exaggerating.  We are going to spend six months working on the lower level and then we are going to move our family (myself, my husband, my five year-old, my three year-old, and our 13 year-old labrador) onto the lower level and spend six months working on the upper levels.  We have completed numerous projects on previous homes and, as a result, we have compiled a list of questions that we ask the contractors who we interview, so I have decided to share it here.  These are the things that are most important to us – if you would like to add to our list, please do!
1.  How long have you been in business?  Have you ever been sued by a client?
2.  How many projects have you completed?  How does the size of this project compare to your others?  Is it the biggest?  Is it the smallest?
3.  How long have you worked with your subcontractors?  How do you replace them?  How many of each trade do you have in rotation?
4.  How often will you be at my project?  How often will your foreman be at my project?  Will someone be working on my project every day?
5.  How do you schedule your jobs?  Do you use an on-line scheduling program and will I have access to it?  How often is the schedule updated?
6.  How will you communicate with me?  Do you accept texts?  Do you conduct weekly meetings with homeowners?  How do you handle change orders?
7.  Do you bid your projects based on your own experience or do you ask your subs for bids before making your own?  Do you build a cushion into your budget for the unexpected?
8.  Can we visit an on-going project?
9.  Can we talk to your references from completed projects?
*Image courtesy of Bing Images.