Contractor reference check

Contractor Reference Check

Step # 26 in the Kitchen Remodel Planner

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As you winnow done the list of potential contractors the next step is do a contractor reference check.  Hopefully you started with a list of 10 or so contractors that you found from online service like this site – , asking friends and neighbors and local newspapers, magazines and newspapers.  Of the 10 contractors you contacted probably just 5 or 6 responded and came to meet with you to discuss your remodeling project.  Of those 3 were interested enough in your project to provide you an estimate.

Now you have to decide which of the 3 contractors who did bid on your remodeling project should get your business.  An important step is to call references for the contractor.  Many contractors will have a list of references, aka, their happy customers, to give you.  You should also ask for a reference from a job they completed in the last year.  Companies change, so references from 5 years ago may be of little value if all the employees of a company are different.

Your phone calls to the references do not have to be long – just 5 minutes.  You will likely learn what you need to know very quickly.  I believe references are low on the list of items that influence your decision on which contractor to hire.  Of course if a contractor can give you no references that is not a good sign – or if the references they give you do not recommend them – another bad sign.  But it is likely that the references you will be given will sing the praises of all the contractors so you need to look elsewhere to decide who is the best contractor for your project.


Contractor Reference Check Questions

The “typical” questions.

  1. When did you use ABC construction?
  2. What work did they do for you?
  3. Was the project completed on schedule and on budget?
  4. Would you hire the contractor again?  For what type of project?
  5. Would your recommend this contractor to your friends and neighbors?

And the questions that will get your informative answers.

  1. What went wrong during your project and how did the contractor deal with it?
  2. What is one thing that you wish the contractor had done differently?
  3. Did you make any changes during the project – how did the contractor respond?

I like these questions – and similar questions- because they direct the conversation to the few things that go wrong – which happens on every project.  When things go well it is easy for everyone to do a good job – in your search for a great contractor – you want one that is successful and good to work with when their are problems with the project.