Rethinking 3 Common Questions When Interviewing a Contractor

by | Nov 22, 2022 | Remodeling Considerations | 0 comments

Most homeowners do their due diligence when choosing a contractor to work on their kitchen, primary suite, room addition or entire home. They talk with a handful of contractors, and it is not uncommon during our initial meeting with a prospective client to be asked several questions. Interestingly, we often are asked questions that don’t separate the pros from the posers.

The following are typical questions we are asked, which may not tell you how your project will go.

Do you do quality work?

This tends to be a common question asked at our first meeting with a client. It is very subjective dependent on your expectation for quality. Unfortunately, when asked, all contractors, as well as chuck-in-a-truck handy men, will say they do quality work.

All contractors try to control quality, but generally most of them do not have a robust quality management process in place. In many cases, they do not have a written program either. Traditionally, the project superintendent is responsible for the quality of the work. They depend on the different subcontractors to follow normal and customary industry practice when it comes to the quality of the work. Such a process depends a lot on to the ability, knowledge, discretion, and diligence of workers, and the supervisor’s persistent and careful oversight. Our goal is to do “above industry standard” work to take “our” quality to the next level. Visit some of our past jobs and talk with our past clients and check out our quality of work.

How long will this remodeling project take?

While this is a legitimate question, it doesn’t help determine how long it will really take.

Better questions to ask are:

  • How do you plan and schedule your projects?
  • How do you manage to keep it on schedule?
  • How will you communicate with me and how often?
  • What will be happening on my job daily?
  • When is the completion date?

We do not use a paper “seat of the pants” approach. We use a software program that allows you to see who is in your home daily and what they are working on. Our goal is to work as efficiently and effectively as possible to minimize the length of time we are in your home. We have found by scheduling all our subcontractors in advance with this software there are less delays. We won’t start your project until we know all product from cabinetry and appliances, to concrete and electrical wiring are there for us (yes, in this new world, Covid continues to affect availability of various product).

How much is this remodeling project going to cost?

Cost and schedule are the two more tangible aspects of a remodeling project seemingly available early in the process. Knowing the cost in advance assists in knowing if you can afford to do what you want to do. For most it’s a necessity prior to committing to moving forward. However, asking this question at your first meeting with a sales manager, is a bit like asking someone to marry you on the first date. If pressed, some remodeling contractors will aim low to keep the conversation going rather than give realistic numbers. However, at Corinthian, it requires US to do due diligence.  We will gather information on what you hope to accomplish over the phone. Following this, our Sales Manager will meet with you in your home to see the space and further dive into exactly what you are wanting to accomplish. He will come back and meet with you after working on a preliminary opinion of cost for the remodel based on conversations you had regarding the Scope of Work. If you choose to work with Corinthian we will enter into a Design Retainer Agreement at which point you will work with our designers to further dial into the details in order design and determine the actual cost.

These are just three of the many questions we are asked. Our advice is to visit and talk with prior clients of the contractor to see and hear about the quality of work they do. Ask to see a current job they are working on and to see the schedule and if they have it on the back of napkins, walk away quickly. Finally, discuss how the contractor determines the cost of your project and what is it based on. Ask how often they complete a project on time.

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