1. What is their background and how experienced are they in the specific type of job that you need for your church? Everybody deserves a break, but you don’t want your church to be a training ground for someone trying to learn the business. It’s a very basic question, so don’t be shy about asking them how long they’ve been in the restoration/renovation industry and how long they’ve run their company.
2. Are they insured? And will they provide proof of their general liability insurance? It is important that your contractor be fully insured and capable of covering any accidents or mishaps that might occur while working on your project. If your contractor is uninsured, they should not be working on your project. General liability insurance protects your church from damage or negligence of the contractor, his employees, brought onto your property. You may be a very trusting person but resist the temptation to take their word for it. For your protection, make them prove it with a copy of their insurance certificate and check the expiration dates. You can also call the issuing authority and verify the insurance is in force.
3. Do they carry workers’ compensation insurance? Workers’ compensation insurance protects you from liability in the event a worker is injured while working on your property. Make sure you hire a fully insured contractor.
4. Are they comfortable providing you with a list of past clients? A credible contractor should have no problem providing multiple references. We recommend you take the time to contact 10 clients for whom the contractor has done a similar job. Then, you’ll know the type of work they can do and the level of service you can expect.
5. What is a realistic timeline for this renovation project? And is your contractor able to document a schedule? Ask them to be as specific as possible, within reason. While unexpected problems might arise as the project unfolds, an experienced contractor should be able to give you a decent timeline for completion of the project.
6. How many projects are they currently working on? It doesn’t hurt to know this. First, you probably want them to be a little busy. Otherwise, you may begin to question why you are the only one hiring them. On the other hand, if they have too many jobs going on for the size of the company they have, they may be spreading themselves thin, and this could impact the performance on your job site.
7. What happens if they find something unexpected? It is quite common to find something you didn’t plan for in the course of a renovation project. For example, walls can hide a lot of problems and regardless of how good or accurate a contractor is, he or she is not a magician and cannot see through walls. The important thing is to know who is responsible and for what.
8. What is the clean up going to be like on the job site? Are they going to clean up the site every day at the end of the day? You should both define what “clean up” means, because a contractor may have a very loose definition. And make sure there is an understanding about dirty work that must go on during the job.
9. What is the payment schedule? This varies from company to company, but you should never pay the entire amount up front. A deposit is standard, with payment installments based on a payment schedule.
10. What type of communication will they be using throughout the job? You certainly want to know that he or she is updating you about the process of your renovation. The medium of communication depends on both of you. Just be clear if you prefer emails, texts, or phone calls.
11. Do they provide detailed contracts? The answer here should be a resounding yes. A true professional always work with a proper, written contract. This protects both of you and is just common sense. A contract should detail a clear project plan and identify what you and your contractor have agreed to. A written contract should include the following: A full description of the work, including the materials and products to be used. Dates when the work will start and be completed. A clear payment schedule that lays out when and how much you will be charged. The contractor’s warranty detailing what is covered and the duration. Confirmation that the contractor has business liability coverage for your project, and that required Workers’ Compensation coverage is in place.
12. Do they know how to repair/fix damaged plaster? What type of materials and equipment do they use to repair plaster.
13. Do they provide the necessary rigging and scaffolding needed for the project, or is that a additional expense not included with the bid.