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  • Writer's pictureKlausmair Construction

What To Look For When Hiring A Contractor.

1. Are you licensed for this type of work?

Among the many questions to ask a general contractor, this is the big one. Licensing is an important aspect of many industries, and construction is no exception.

Ask for a copy of their license and contact the issuing authority to ensure it is current and in good standing.

✅ KC is Licensed in PA, MD, DE, NJ & FL!

2. Which types of insurance do you carry?

There are a few answers you want to hear in response to this question.

First, your contractor should have general liability insurance that protects your home and property in the event of an accident. For example, if they hit a water line and flood your house, you can rest assured knowing they’ll take care of the cost of this type of disaster.

Second, your general contractor should also carry workers’ compensation insurance. This protects you from liability if someone is hurt while working on your property.

✅ KC is Insured in PA, MD, DE, NJ & FL!

3. How many building permits have you obtained in my area over the last two years?

Make sure your general contractor is familiar with your local building code requirements and the permitting process in your community. It’s important to find a contractor who is credible and has recently worked within your area. Put simply, you don’t want to hire a contractor who is new in town and unfamiliar with the regulations that will apply to your project.

✅ KC will work with your township when necessary to get the proper permits for YOUR project. While not always necessary for some improvement projects depending on State and local municipalities, KC will make sure to go about things the proper way.

4. Can you provide a list of references?

Talk to former clients who have hired the general contractor you’re considering. Ask them about the process, as well as the final product. Discuss budgeting, timeliness, and professionalism. One of the best ways to learn more about a potential general contractor is from credible sources. Ask them, would you hire this general contractor again?

✅ KC is always willing to provide some references to our customers. Whether your an HOA board member looking to speak with another community‘s HOA president, or a Residential Homeowner looking to get some outside feedback on our company, we have people we can connect you with, as well as dozens of reviews online to make the process easy and comfortable as a potential client.

5. What is an expected timeline for this project?

It’s important for you to have a clear picture of when the contractor will begin and end work on your project, especially if you have a deadline in mind. Perhaps you’re awaiting the birth of a child or need to move out of your current home. Whatever the reason, ask about any circumstances that may push back your completion date. This is also a good time to ask about how many projects they’re currently juggling. Also, make sure the timeline is realistic.

✅ At KC we always try to be upfront and open about the project timeline. Depending on the type of project, timelines can very greatly. However if there are any delays, they will be communicated to you directly by our Production Team! It’s important to keep in mind that while timelines are available, they are always going to be estimations based on our decades of experience in the industry and 99% of the time, we get the estimations right!

6. Will you hire sub-contractors for the job?

It is rare for a general contractor to have every type of necessary worker under one roof, especially if you are building a home from the ground up. They’ll often need to subcontract work out to plumbers, painters, electricians, and other specialists.

✅ This point is absolutely correct. KC does not have every specialist in-house, and we do use some contractors, though we do have in-house specialists. That being said, ALL of the subcontractors we use are Fully Licensed, Insured, and we have LONG TERM relationships with the crew leaders and team members. There‘s nothing wrong with using sub-contractors, as long as they are vetted and experienced, as ours always are. Keep in mind, its best to have someone completing the work that does it every day and specializes in that field, than someone who doesn’t perform the tasks your project demands on a regular basis. Finally, KC’s in-house team does have the education and expertise to do it all in house. So you can know that even if it were are using sub-contractors, we know if they‘re doing a high quality job to the KC standards.

7. How will my project be supervised?

Most general contractors are not in the thick of it when it comes to slinging hammers. With that in mind, ask them how often they’ll stop by to check on your project to ensure the project is on track. If they will not be checking in daily, who is the on-site project manager? Will you also be able to contact them directly with questions? You should feel confident that there is a person on-site tracking every phase of your new build or renovation.

✅ KC offers in-house project managers to oversee the production of your project so we can make sure things are being done correctly. Depending on the scope of work, our manager’s onsite time will very, though know that your project is in safe hands with our crews at all times. Questions can always be asked throughout the project to either our Production Team Members, or your KC Representative who you worked with during the estimating and sales process. If we ever make a mistake, we will honor our craftsmanship under our warranty as well!

8. What kind of written warranty do you have?

Most contractors will guarantee their work, and some will even use a written warranty agreement. This should clearly disclose what is covered in the build, what is not, and for how long. Asking about warranties is definitely important when considering questions to ask a general contractor.

✅ KC offers some of the strongest warranties in the industry, ranging from 2-Years all the way up to 20-Years. Most commonly, 10 to 20 Years is standard for 90% of our projects, and we do offer a written warranty certificate upon completion.

9. What’s your typical payment schedule?

The payment schedule is important for both you and the contractor you choose to partner with. You don’t want to pay the full price upfront, and most contractors won’t ask you to do so. Discuss payment terms before work begins, including payment amounts, key deliverables, and due dates.

✅ It’s hard to answer simply as it is very much dependent on the type of project. Though typically we ask for a deposit up front to cover a portion of the project, and depending on the ticket price of the project, the deposit and payment structure structure will vary.

10. Do you anticipate any challenges regarding this project?

Construction isn’t always cut and dry. There are challenges that may be clear from the beginning or issues your crew discovers along the way. Ask your potential contractor to be up-front about these things from day one. This will help you prepare for any adjustments to the cost or timeline.

✅ During our initial field inspection of the project our Representatives are trained to look for specific details and concerns that could create complications during the construction period of the project. In fact, we’re so good at providing complete estimates, that often times we are the only contractor to point out concerns and associated expenses during the estimating period of your project. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out in our favor, as it makes our services appear to be more costly than our competitors on occasion. We frequently here from past potential clients who moved forward with another contractor that are disappointed in the services they received stating they wish they had selected us instead, leaving us to return and correct mistakes that were made.

We will never fault you for selecting another contractor, nor do we suggest we are perfect by any means. Though it is important to remember than the age old saying “You get what you pay for”. It never pleases us to see disappointed customers spend additional money into repairing the mistakes made by other contractors.

11. How do you communicate with your clients?

Questions will come up along the way, regardless of the size and scope of your project. You should have a designated point of contact and details about the best way to get in touch. Whether this is by phone, text message, or email, it’s important to be able to get ahold of someone on your contractor’s team as soon as possible. On that note, your contractor should also offer a plan for staying in touch. Whether this is on a daily or weekly basis, ask about their protocol for sending project updates.

✅ At KC, your Representative you worked with during the sales process will always be your point of contact for any questions or concerns you may have. Though we also offer loads of support on the back end from our Production Team, Team Managers as well as our Office to make sure you’re getting the best possible service. All resources are on our website to make contact with your Team Member of choice, as well as your Sales Rep who can point you in the right direction.

12. What does a typical workday look like for your crew?

Organization is key when it comes to construction projects. Your contractor should be able to give you an idea of a potential work schedule over a few different phases of the project, such as working hours and general timelines. During this conversation, you should also ask how the crew will ensure a safe, secure, and clean working environment.

✅ Our crews will be onsite most commonly from 7:30 until 5:00. Though timelines can change depending on holidays, timelines of materials, etc. Our Production Team will always be available to answer these questions whenever necessary!

13. Will you obtain all of the required building permits?

Permits and inspection requirements vary by location. You may need a county, city, or even HOA approvals. In addition, most remodeling projects that change the structure of a home will require some type of approval. A reputable general contractor will know which building permits are required, and they should handle this for your project directly.

✅ Absolutely! Whenever permits, engineer approval, architectural design, etc. are required, KC will take the proper measures required to make sure things are being handled the proper way.

14. Are you familiar with renovating historic homes?

If your project involves a historic home, experience is essential. The intricate process of merging the past and the future can sometimes be a challenge. For this reason, you want to make sure you hire a general contractor who is familiar with the unique nature of historic renovations. Ask them for a few examples of the work they’ve done on historic homes, as well as references.

✅ YES. KC has loads of experience in historic remodels and rebuilds. With several decades in business, KC has completed countless historic projects for many customers.

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