Considering hiring a Contractor?
Many owners experience anxiety about construction improvement projects. Most don’t really understand how building systems work. They don’t know how shingles are installed, the significance of siding panel thickness, the purpose of flashing, the effects of ice damming, and other things contractors “claim” to know. That’s why homeowners probably don’t know the right questions to ask and can’t tell if a contractor is pulling the wool over their eyes.
Here is a check list of things you need ask a contractor before you make any home improvement!
1. How long have you been in business?
While a short number here doesn’t necessarily disqualify a contractor, depending on the size of the project, this is a good indication as to the quality of work and reliability your contractor has shown his previous customers. On average, 96% OF CONTRACTORS FAIL WITHIN THE FIRST TWO YEARS IN BUSINESS.
Since 1921 in Jackson, Kwaske Construction been Locally Owned and Operated, with materials purchased from locally owned vendors, offering Homeowners, Commercial and Industrial property owners, premium construction services in the Jackson area.
2. May I see your license and insurance please?
It is amazing the amount of contractors who advertise or say they are licensed and insured but fail to produce any documentation. Make sure you get a copy of each of these documents before letting the project begin. Their insurance policy should include; General Liability, Workers Compensation, and Vehicular coverage.
Kwaske Construction is licensed (shown under “Our licenses & Certificates” – this website), and insured, and further uses top of the line, OSHA approved equipment on all job sites. Can I check to see the status of a contractors license with the “State of Michigan”? Yes and once a person is licensed there name will always show up… even if there license is not currently active! The following is on the web for the “State of Michigan”. This site will also give you information on “complaints/criminal convictions” against the contractor. Take the “con out of construction”.
Required State License(s): A residential builders or maintenance and alteration contractors license is required when engaged in the construction, repair, alteration, addition, or improvement of a residential or combination residential and commercial structure. Contact the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Commercial Services at 517-373-8068 for licensure information or visit their website at www.michigan.gov/builders.
3. Do you use 1099 contractors or sub-contractors as installers for your jobs?
Many commercial contractors sub-out work on their projects, however, for a standard home improvement job, employee labor is highly recommended. Contractors that use subs may not carry appropriate insurance, they also lose a large degree of control on the job, which can also affect the warranty of the product and obviously the workmanship. Working so closely with clients’ homes, it’s important to reduce the homeowner’s liability and make sure their families feel safe.
Kwaske Construction Company’ installers are employees, not just sub-contractors, and have been background-checked, as well as certified and trained on all the products they apply on the job site.
4. Can you please provide me references for similar jobs to mine?
Contractors that have been in business for any amount of time will have ample references you can contact, and those references should be willing to allow you to look at the job to help you rest a little easier.
Kwaske Construction Company is committed to continuous improvement in all areas of our company, resulting in retaining almost 100% of business from clients and client referrals. Our list of references is something we are pleased to show you!
5. Are you certified with the manufacturer for the products you install?
While many contractors say they can do a job, manufacturers’ certification is a professional distinction that sets you apart. Instead of learning from their father or grandfather how to install shingles, siding, etc., they know the current and most productive installation methods available. Also, take some time educating yourself about the part of your home you are working on – before you have contractors look at your house. Have an idea the product or material you intend to use before speaking with any contractors. Once you have made this selection, go to the manufacturer’s website for the written installation instructions for that product. You’ll find out that certain other materials are often required for proper installation Remember, the contractor you hire must do all the things listed in the instructions to ensure you end up with a valid warranty.
6. How much labor can you commit to my project?
Estimate for completion? Nothing is more frustrating that your home improvement project lasting months on end. Most professional contractors have crews of at least three men with sometimes many more. Make your contractor give you an estimated timeline of events. Of course some home improvement projects involve other variables, so always allow for weather or additional work delays.
Through use of our software, Kwaske Construction does a “bar chart” that gives a timeline and project start & completion date for our customers – before work begins – taking into consideration our customers’ needs, expectations, and availability.
7. How can I get in contact with you or your company in the event something goes wrong?
Professional contact is a key to the successful completion of your home improvement project. If your contractor only has a cell phone, likelihood is there is not much holding him here and that 10-year labor warranty doesn’t mean much if he moves out of state.
Kwaske Construction Company offers 24-hour customer support and place an emphasis on continued training in order to be the best in their field.
8. Are you the cheapest?
Although this question might sound odd, this is a way to rule out some contractors without even getting an estimate. If a contractor claims to be the cheapest or will beat any quote, do you really want them working on your home? They have to make a living like anybody else and the cheapest price never gets you a quality job.
“We realize this is a big decision, and want the customer to feel comfortable making it. Most people are receptive to it, but some just want us to give them a price. I really want to change the reputation of this industry, one job at a time…” Steve Kwaske, Owner, KCC. Most contractors will only provide customers a quick estimate, but Kwaske Construction also employs use of it’s design software, where we can sit down with and educate clients, explaining everything that the clients should expect and why we use the best materials to provide the businesses & homeowner the most value for their dollar – because construction work is huge investment that businesses & homeowners don’t want to have to do again a few years from now.
9. What type of guarantees do you offer?
Someone who says they guarantee their work but doesn’t offer you a written proposition is a scam artist. Ask for an in-writing detailed document specifying what is covered and what is excluded under the warranty. Make sure a definitive time period is stated as well. Note: Most lifetime guarantees have a legally enforceable expiration of 7 years. Further, when you start to collect the written estimates, make sure the contractors’ bids cover the same material and the same conditions. If you intend to strip off old shingles, be sure all contractors’ bids state they will do this. The same goes for any other materials for the job. Clearly explain to all contractors that they all must install new materials or only reuse existing materials if in “perfect” condition. Each contractor will give you an assessment after making a physical inspection of the space. Make sure to ask each contractor for an assessment of your home. See if they will take photos for you of the existing space if you can’t look at it yourself.
Our Warranties are the best in the industry! Always ask what kind of Warranty am I getting?
“Pro-rated warranty” …Example of a pro-rated warranty = lets say you buy a “tire” with a 100,000 mile warranty for $100.00 and due to a manufacturer defect the tire at 50,000 miles is un-repairable, the manufacturer offers you $50 due to the tire going 1/2 of the rated warranty.
“Non pro-rated” warranty would give you a new tire or $100.00 right up to the end of the 100,000 mile warranty. Let’s say we put a “Life time warranty” roof on for you, our “manufacturer’s warranty” will cover (Non pro-rated warranty) replacement for the 1st 50 years “Non Pro-rated” from manufacturer defects covering “labor, material, tear off, and disposal of the roofing debris off site”. How about “workmanship”? YES! for the 1st 25 years… workmanship is defined as the roofing being installed incorrectly by workman. What about “plumbing”? YES! It covers “labor, material, carpet, wood floor, drywall, etc. … and how about your “Rembrandt painting? YES! even the painting!!! Our list of “WARRANTIES” goes on & on & on for new construction/additions!!!