Hiring a contractor can be stressful. Not only are you working with someone who will have access to your home or business, but you’re also trusting that person to do the job right and on time. Before you hire anyone, it’s important to ask questions about their experience and qualifications so that you understand how qualified they are for the job and can trust them not just to do what they’re good at, but also get the job done safely and efficiently. We recommend asking these questions before scheduling meetings with contractors:

How many years of experience do you have?

This is a great question to ask any contractor you’re considering working with. It’s important for several reasons:

  • Experience can help you avoid mistakes and find better solutions. The more experience a person has, the less likely they are to make costly errors or overlook critical details. They’ll also be able to offer better suggestions on how to get things done efficiently and effectively—which saves both time and money in the long run!
  • A lot of new contractors are eager to work on their first project but may not have had much experience yet (or any at all). This can lead them down the wrong path or force them into making some poor decisions that could end up costing you more money than necessary later on in your project. When it comes down to determining whether someone is right for your job, it’s always best just ask about their background directly instead of trying to guess based off body language cues during an interview session at Starbucks—you know what I mean…

What kind of projects have you done?

Of course, you want to know if the contractor is capable of doing your project. You can’t expect a plumber who works exclusively on commercial buildings to be able to fix your leaky faucet. To find out if that’s the case, ask for examples of previous projects. If they haven’t done anything like yours before, ask if they have worked on projects similar to yours and how those went. If they have done work like yours before, ask about the size and scope of those jobs so that you can get an idea of what level of complexity they’re used to working with.

What kind of projects are you currently working on?

You’ll want to ask the contractor about his or her portfolio. It’s an excellent way to get an idea of the type of work they do, and if it’s in line with what you’re looking for. They should be able to provide examples of projects they’ve completed (if they’re happy with them), as well as ones that didn’t turn out as well.

In addition, if this is your first time hiring a contractor, you might have difficulty knowing which questions to ask when interviewing them. Here are some common questions on homeowners’ minds:

Are you licensed and insured?

It should go without saying that a contractor who is not licensed and insured should be avoided at all costs. Not only does it provide added peace of mind for you as a homeowner, but it also protects you from legal action if something goes wrong during your home improvement project. You can check for licenses and insurance by visiting the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) online directory of home building professionals.

Will you use subcontractors?

It’s important to know who will be doing the work and to check their references.

If you want your project completed in a timely manner, it helps to use subcontractors. They can be used for specialized work that requires a higher level of skill or expertise, such as stonework or painting. Subcontractors may also be able to complete tasks more efficiently than you could do them yourself since they have done this type of job many times before. This is especially true if you are working at home and have not had experience with certain types of projects in the past. It may also save time, money and energy if you don’t need full-time employees for each aspect of your renovation project (or any other construction projects).

Can I see a copy of your contract and pricing structure?

You’re a smart person, so you probably won’t fall for the “Well, I didn’t have a pen on me and it was late in the day, so I figured that meant we couldn’t sign it but I’ll send over some new copies next week so you can sign them then. And if you don’t like my pricing structure, that’s fine—I’ll do what it takes to win your business!” line. You want to make sure that any contract you sign is clear about who does what and when.

Also important: Does the contractor have insurance? Most contractors should carry general liability insurance, which covers injuries or property damage caused by them during their work for clients (and if they don’t have this coverage or don’t tell you about it before signing on the dotted line). If something goes wrong and one of those “what if” scenarios come true, having this protection could save your bank account from going bust.

How long will it take to complete my project?

How long will it take to complete my project?

This is a great question because it will gauge the contractor’s knowledge of your project. If they can give you a rough estimate, then they are probably an experienced contractor. However, if they do not know what the timeline is or say that it depends on many factors, then this could be an indication that they are not as knowledgeable about their trade or perhaps don’t have enough experience to help you with your project.

Do you provide free estimates?

You should absolutely ask for a free estimate. A good contractor will always be happy to provide you with one, and it’s important that you ask for one before you hire them.

Here’s why:

  • A free estimate can tell you what the project will cost, saving you from spending too much on upgrades or repairs (or wasted time). You’ll know up front if the project is within your budget and if it’s worth doing at all!
  • The contractor knows they need to impress you enough to land the job—so they’ll probably do their best work on this first impression.

These questions can tell you whether a contractor is right for the job.

You should ask questions that help you figure out whether the contractor is the right one for your job.

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What do your customers say about you?
  • Do you have any references from satisfied customers I can call?

If a contractor is not interested in answering these or other similar questions, then he may be hiding something. This could be that he does not have an answer and wants to get off the phone, or it could be that he doesn’t want to provide an honest response because he knows it’s going to make him look bad.


I hope this list has helped you to get a better idea of what questions to ask a potential contractor. Asking these questions will give you a better sense of what kind of work they do and whether or not they are right for your project.

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