Questions You Should Ask Before Contracting a Builder

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Hiring a builder for a home improvement or commercial project can be exciting. Whether you’re looking for the construction of a complex object, the prototype of a design, or simply need a builder to help you reimagine uses for your backyard, there are questions you’ll want to ask your potential builder. For help with knowing what to ask before you begin the construction process on any project, read on.

What are your rates and do you give free estimates?

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Builder rates can vary from job to job and place to place. The first thing you’ll want to ask any potential builder you’re interviewing is what they charge. Some builders charge by the hour. Others charge by the job and will offer a bid for the entire project, no matter how long they think it will take.

The best way to approach a builder is to ask them to come to your property to have them look at the job you need done. This will give them the ability to make a more accurate bid, take measurements, and more. It will also give you the chance to ask them about any suggestions they might have and what options you could be looking at to save on costs or even improve the project.

The best rule of thumb is to get bids or pricing from three builders so that you can price shop. However, never choose a builder on price alone. You’ll want to ask to see a portfolio of their work and ask for recommendations as well.

What are my building options for this project?

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Ask each of the three or more builders who come to your site exactly how they see the project being done. Ask about timeframes and options. You may have one way of doing things in your mind, but an experienced builder may know a shortcut or think of something you aren’t aware of. Builders also know about zoning laws and codes, too. Having a conversation about options will put you in a better position in order to get through the permit process quickly and without any issues.

What is your experience level and do you have references?

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Before your potential builder leaves, ask about jobs they’ve done in the past. The person you hire is someone who’ll be spending a lot of time on your property. No matter what kind of project you’re thinking of hiring them for, you’ll want to be sure they know how to get the job done, can do it safely, and can be trusted with access to your belongings.

It’s more than okay to ask about other jobs they’ve completed and any problems they’ve run into. Any legitimate builder will happily provide you with references from other clients who’ve given their permission to give out names to future clients. When the builder leaves and before making a final decision, hop on the Internet and do a quick Google search for the builder and their company. Check reviews to see what others have said about the work they do. While no builder will have a perfect reputation, you want to look for reviews that warn about builders who take money upfront and don’t finish the job. Doing so could save you time and money.

At the end of the day, no matter what type of project you need a builder for, the best way to approach the construction process is to start with a conversation. In asking about pricing, options, timeframes, references, and more, it’s important to establish clear expectations with your builder. Keep that communication going throughout the job. This will ensure a successful project and put you in the best position to get what you’re paying for.

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