• Duane C. Barney

Selecting your Contractor - Part 2

Before you hire anyone, you go through an interview process the same is true for hiring a general contractor.

1. Select viable candidates

2. Conduct an interview

3. Weigh the pros and cons and make the best hire possible.

Part Two- Interview

The interview is important as the person/company you hire will be building your home, and if it is a remodel they may be doing it while you are living there. Either way it is an important and personal part of your life and they will be part of it for quite some time. The interview is to get to know the person and the company, you can review the project scope and even go over the plans, if they are completed, but it is not necessary. You are not looking for pricing or solving any problems, you are looking for a good third player for your team, you and the architect being the first two. Since this is ultimately a team effort this is a critical hire as the architect’s role will diminish a bit as the execution phase accelerates.

As with any interview have a list of questions prepared, one so it is not off the cuff and two, so you make sure you get answers to all your relevant concerns Here is a starting point. Review this with your architect and friends to address any problems that arose during their projects you may want to address as well.

1. How long have you been doing this type of work? – experience matters especially in remodeling

2. How did you get into this industry?

3. How long has ______been in business?

4. Do you prefer working with architects?

5. If there are questions during the work, how do you address these.

6. What type of contract do you use?

7. What % of the work is subcontracted out? There is no wrong answer just good to know.

8. Do you have a procedure to finish a project and make sure it is complete?

9. Do you typically have a dumpster and toilet on site?

10. How do you address security?

11. What is your billing format, how often do you send out an invoice?

12. Can I expect a release of lien from you and each subcontractor with each invoice?

13. What is your warranty procedure?

14. How much warranty work do you typically perform, what can I expect?

Give the GC an opportunity to ask you any questions. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

1. How will the project be funded? Bank draws can impact cash flow.

2. Will you be staying in the house during the project?

3. What is your vacation schedule? Looking to see what yours and the buildings vacant availability will be, if you are gone for 4 weeks in the middle of the project, certain work can be scheduled around that and few decisions will be made during that period.

4. Have you ever done a project like this before, how did it go, are you thinking about using your last contractor why or why not.

5. If job is to be bid, how many bidders will there be?

The last request should be for references for projects of a similar nature, granted each reference you call will give you positive feed back or they would not be on the list, but it is still good to call. Also get a list of subcontractors they are working with.

When conducting reference calls:

Past Clients

1. What went extremely well? Anything we should look out for.

2. If you did it again, what would you do differently?

3. Would you do it again, why or why not?


1. Is the jobsite secure?

2. Is the jobsite clean?

3. Is the job typically ready for you when you arrive? Do you have all the information you need?

4. Do you get paid quickly, what is the longest you have waited?

5. If you have questions does ______ quickly follow up and get answers for you?

Well, that is simple, should not take much time at all, good luck and remember a good team will make the project the enjoyable dream you envisioned.

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