Hiring a contractor to do work can be a bit intimidating. You either don’t have the time, equipment or knowledge to do it yourself, but that leaves you searching for someone who will do quality work on time and with your best interest in mind. Here are few tips to help you know what to ask and look for.
- Referrals and photos
Whenever possible you want to see referrals from past clients and see photos of the work completed for them. A good contractor will be happy to show you photos of completed projects. Something else to ask is what your particular site will look like once completed. For example, if you are having a stamped patio completed, what will the rest of the yard look like once they have finished? Will it be a mess of ruts and tore up grass or will it look like the contractor was never there, aside from the new concrete? Also, ask about removal of any existing concrete.
- License, Insurance and GMI Certified
If you do not see a license to work in your state mentioned online or displayed in the office, ask if the contractor is licensed. Insurance will cover injuries and damages that occur on the job site. A reliable contractor should be insured and up front with you about the insurance when you ask. GMI Certification will mean that the contractor trained with GMI to learn exactly how to mix, pour, pattern and polish your project to present the best work to you. Look at another company if you do not get the answers you do not get the answers you need.
- Length of business
A business that has been established for several years is more likely to be there later if you need them to honor a guarantee or warranty. A newly founded business may be good but is more likely to go out of business. Also, ask about any name changes. Sometimes businesses change names to separate themselves from poor reputations or past lawsuits.
- Physical Address
A reliable contractor should have a physical location to receive mail and hold meetings. Asking for a physical address can save you headaches from scammers online. Do not give your information or payment to a business that doesn’t have a physical address. They may be offering you a lower quote, but you could end up paying for it in the long run dealing with a scammer.
- Expectations/ Process
Here is where a bit of research can give you the confidence to ask the questions you don’t know you need to ask. Such as:
How soon can you start?
Of course, you don’t want to wait til next year to get started, but a good contractor is usually booked for a little bit. If he tells you he can start tomorrow that should push you to ask more questions in way of previous work references and experience.
What type of equipment does this require?
A good contractor will be able to tell you the process and the equipment needed to get the job done. They will explain it to you in a way that you can understand and know what to expect.
How long will the job take?
If the weather cooperates a typical patio or driveway will take 2-3 days.
What is the back – up plan?
With outdoor concrete work, the weather is the greatest factor and is uncontrollable. Ask about details for a backup plan if the project is delayed.
What will the maintenance be?
Typically concrete lasts 10-20 years and does not require a lot of maintenance, but sealing it every few years may be required depending on usage.
Most importantly, the contractor will listen to you and answer any concerns you have regarding any part of the process. If you feel that you are not being heard, make sure to find the right contractor for you.These tips will give you the confidence to hire a good contractor and enjoy years of beautifully finished concrete.