Four questions to ask your contractor before starting a project

Once you become a parent, you worry about everything. You spent countless hours vetting your pediatrician, preschool programs and maybe even your neighborhood.

When you decide to have work done on your home, that worrying instinct kicks in again. There will be strangers in and on my home, there will be sharp tools and potentially dangerous machinery in use and lots of opportunities for your naturally-curious children to wander into harm’s way.

You ask yourself, “How can I keep my family safe while all of this work is underway?” You can start by asking your contractor a few questions.

Talking safety with a home improvement contractor

1 - Ask for your contractor for references or referrals.

References are a quick and easy way to get an idea of what to expect from a potential contractor. A good contractor will have plenty of satisfied customers that are willing to talk about their experiences during construction. If not? Beware!

You may also want to ask friends and family for a referral based on their personal experiences. If they have great things to say about a contractor, there’s a good chance that things will go well at your place, too.

2 - Ask for proof of valid insurance coverage.

Liability insurance covers job-related accidents or any accidents that damage your home. Workers’ compensation insurance covers the employees in case they become injured while on the job. Ask your potential contractor to provide you with proof that he or she has both.

You should never allow an uninsured or underinsured contractor to work on your home. If there is an accident, the liability could fall on you!

Another point worth knowing: insurance companies often deny coverage to contractors who engage in unsafe practices.

3 - Ask for credentials.

When you go to job interview, you expect to show your potential employer your resume. The same goes for hiring a contractor – you’re not out of line if you ask to see your contractor’s credentials.

Credentialing standards vary by state, so this may also require a little more homework on your end. The Home Advisor’s State-by-State Licensing Requirements article is a great place to start. This list covers most types of contractors, from residential contracting to HVAC and beyond. Your state and local municipalities can answer additional requirement questions you may have.

4 - Ask for a tentative schedule.

Factors like weather, material orders and delivery schedules all play parts in the actual timeframe of a home improvement project. Your contractor may be ready to go, but if the goods aren’t available, or a tornado roars into town, the work can’t begin. That’s fair.

A tentative schedule, however, helps you prepare your family and your home for the work ahead. You’ll know when workers will be on-site, and you’ll have a good idea of when your life will get back to normal. If a contractor gives you an open-ended answer to your questions about work completion, you should be very wary about proceeding.

While there’s no doubt that a construction zone is unsafe for kids and pets, they may not realize the dangers that surround them. If your children are old enough, talk with them about what’s going on and make them aware of areas that are off-limits while work is being done.

Major home improvement projects can be stressful for the whole family. Don’t rule out an extended visit with family or close friends during this time! The familiarity of grandma’s house or the comfort of a nearby hotel may be the safest option for your family – and gives your contractor a chance to get the work done faster, too.

For more questions to discuss with your contractor visit Long Roofing.