When you’re looking to hire a contractor, you may not even know exactly what to ask them to ensure you’re hiring someone who’s right for you and the job you’re doing. There are numerous contractors and businesses out there, all with their own specialties and histories. Regardless of the space you are looking to renovate, finish off or add to, there are a few questions you should ask your contractor to get a feel for how they’ll fit within the job.

While some of these questions will help you figure out who you want to hire, others will assist you in navigating a professional relationship and making decisions together. If you feel a bit lost with where to start, this list may help you see where you need to fill in the gaps:


1. Are You Licensed?

This one is pretty straightforward. Every state has its own requirements for contractor licensing, and a license proves an individual’s qualifications to work in the industry.


2. Can I See Your Insurance Certificate?

It’s always important to know that the contractor you’re working with is fully insured. This can prevent any pitfalls that could leave you, them or any other workers involved in a jam. Liability and workers’ compensation insurance are both important regarding coverage.


3. Do You Have Experience With Custom Builds?

Like with any custom feature, if you are paying for a custom build, you should get one. While many companies will outsource their cabinet construction, you want to make sure you have control over the materials and quality of the results.


4. What Is Your Timeline?

A deadline is different from a timeline, and depending upon the other projects you’re doing and your navigation of each space, knowing where your contractor’s work will be and when it will happen could save you a ton of trouble. Knowing they’ll stay on track can give you peace of mind throughout the project.


5. What Materials Do You Use and Work Best With?

Knowing the materials a contractor works with can help you understand their process and how it will mesh with your overall vision. Get involved in the details by talking with them to find tasks that work both for their specialty and your project.


6. Can I See Previous Examples of Your Work?

Seeing the contractor’s previous work, either through photos or in its physical form, can help you get a true understanding of both their skill level and personal style. You can even use their previous work to communicate your preferences concerning the project at hand.


7. Will You Be Proactive About Permits?

Which permits you need to get and who will handle them may vary from project to project. If you’re the builder and you’re in charge of the overhead, the permits may be your responsibility, but that isn’t always the case. In some situations, the contractor is responsible for the permits, but no matter the project, it’s always best to make sure everything is above board.


8. What Is Your Payment Schedule?

The budget is an important part of any project or build, and that includes the timeline. Make sure the contractor’s payment schedule feels appropriate to you and works with your budget. This task should never be left for the moment right before you get billed.


9. What Is Your Specialty?

If you need a niche job done, you may need a more niche contractor. Asking about your contractor’s specific skills and specialties can help you find someone who is exactly right for the job at hand. Also, learning about their particular skills can bring a new life to your project that you didn’t even know it needed.


Hire the Right Contractor

Each project is different, and each contractor brings various things to the table. Communication is key for working together, and when you ask the right questions, the whole project can move much smoother.