I’ve been spending less today calling references for one of my subcontractors and I figured that it might be valuable information for you that is to know how to hire a subcontractor one thing that you should do is when you’re looking at hiring a contractor whether it be a general contractor or a subcontractor and the difference as a general contractor usually manages all the subcontractors and the subcontractors if you think of it as like all the little trades and the general contractor would be like the manager so you do not have to hire a general contractor if you’re working on your own house you need to check out what the building codes are and what the requirements are in your area but you could actually be your own general contractor as long as you’re planning on living in the house for five years at least that’s the law in North Carolina so but here’s the kicker you do want to make sure if you’re hiring subcontractors that they are licensed and they are insured but I’m going to get into that a little bit in a minute all right so the first thing is you want to get at least three referrals at least three subcontractors or three contractors that you’re considering ask your friends one of the really great places that I’ve been using a lot is if you’re on next door Dean about next door comm there’s usually one for each neighborhood that’s a great place because you can go in there and ask and say hey I need a drywall or a painter or anybody having references but once I get that that person theme.

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I don’t just hire them I do a lot of due diligence I do a lot of checking in on that person I may go a little overkill but honestly I don’t want to get taken for a ride so first thing I do is I google that person’s name and I see if there’s any information on the web about that person I look on the Better Business Bureau I try to see are there any negative reviews things like that if I see one negative review I’m not going to necessarily strike them off my list but if there’s a ton of them that I’m definitely gonna say I’m not that guy or that person that’s move on to the next one all right so get your three people or three contractors and then you need to ask each one of them for three references and you tell them you want references within the last three to six months because that’s gonna be like the truest situation like that’s gonna be the best references people that kind of have worked with that contractor now because that person may have done awesome work two years ago but maybe they’ve got things going on in their life right now and so they’re kind of flaking right now so good idea to get references tell them hey can you send me three references within the last three to six months but I have a bunch of questions that I’m asking and the reason why I’m gonna give you these questions is because I think it’s so important to ask a ton of questions not just so how did how was the work because if you can really drill down into a lot of specifics you might get some more information that you wouldn’t get if you just said oh how did you like that person or how was their work alright so that is the first question when I say hey were you happy with the job that the contractor did but then I ask you know did the contractor hire any trades people to help complete a project if it’s a general contractor they probably have hired trades people and then I want to know did the contractor you know how what was the quality that trades people trades people’s work full page I want to move on to my absolute favorite question okay and it’s funny how people answer this but my absolute favorite question is were there any errors or mistakes that happen during the job and if so how are they handled and here’s the deal I want to hear that there were mistakes and I want to hear how they were handled because human beings make mistakes it happens every single contractor no matter how good they are is gonna make a mistake at one point but I want to know how good is that contractor about making it right so that’s my that’s my favorite question and I just got off the phone with a reference and he was telling me a whole story about how the contractor had accidentally broken a windowpane and he said immediately the next day they were there and they were it was just a single paints they’re able to replace it he said another job something was broken and they just took it out of the bill but he said he doesn’t remember because it was not a big deal and he was really happy that how the contractor covered and made good on that okay here’s a good question what was the condition of the jobsite after they were done you know was it left kind of half-finished was it left a mess was there was everything cleaned up you know depending on the trade you got a little bit of leeway on that one but for the most part like you want to make sure that the reference was happy that you even have to personate after the contractor left okay well is there anything that you wish that that he or she had done better that’s a key where you want to try to you know pinpoint was the work done quality work was it you know quality craftsmanship or well they’re kind of some issues that they weren’t happy with okay well as a contractor upfront about any cost changes this is huge because when you hire a contractor things will happen things do change maybe you’ve changed your mind you know maybe something came up and price has changed whatever maybe the job scope changed it’s important that a contractor a good contractor is giving you information along the way hey listen that’s fine but this is gonna cost a little bit more you okay with that instead of at the end when you get the bill you being shocked and surprised excuse me okay how accurate was the contractors timeframe this is key to you want to know if the contractor said it’s gonna take me two weeks did it take two weeks to take three weeks you know and also how is the contractor was showing up were they always on time or were they did it communicate with you if they were gonna be late or had to push your job back things like that you want to kind of get you know flush out and feel is that person’s are they good at communicating on their timing okay this is a really good question – did the contractor pull any permits and I really am looking for contractors who are doing it by the book by law because it’s important to have permits you know pulled on a project that really needs permits be wary if anyone says all you don’t need a permit for this I would check around and also ask each of the contractors that you’re interviewing ask them all the same questions you know does this do you need a coal permit because actually permits are going to help you they’re gonna help protect your house and make sure that the work that was done properly and that when you go to resell that you can sell your house weed has all the permits were applying for and you know if they didn’t pull a permit we’re how are the inspections were the inspections do they pass right away were there any issues how are those handled so have you needed a contract to come back and fix anything if so how timely was that repair usually at the end of a job there’s always a punch lifts list of things that need to be fixed that is so normal but I want to know was the contractor good did they come back in a timely manner and make good on that I did have a landscape contractor once who he did great work while he was here but once he was done he was gone like he would not return my calls and I had a punch list of stuff that he was supposed to just finish up on and and the stupid thing is that I paid him the full amount you should never do that until your pendulous is done we usually reserve about 10% and say listen hey happy to pay you but I’m holding this 10% until the job is complete and your punch list is done so I totally learned from that experience uh was the contractor open to design preferences this would really be important if you are doing a kitchen or bath you want a contractor who is going to make you happy and recognize that you have your own style and they’re not going to bully you about their own style or they’re gonna bull you because they’re getting some awesome deal on some certain tiles so you know find out if they’re open to design preferences and ask the references if they have any experience with that and then I always leave this last you know question which is you know is there anything that you want to add any suggestions you have for me moving forward with this contractor and that really leaves it open for them to add anything else that I may not have asked okay so once you guys have narrowed down your contractor check the Better Better Business Bureau checked all the references the things that you want to get from them are you want to get a copy of their general liability insurance and you want to make sure that your information is in the certificate holder field okay and you can call their insurance company also make sure that the dates that’s not expired you also want to make sure you have their workman’s comp insurance a copy of that you want to make sure that they’re licensed that they’re licensed contractors especially if it’s a general contractor or electrician or a plumber and most that information is available online or you can call your city and ask them hey where can I check licenses and they’ll usually put you in with the appropriate information for looking that up and yeah because don’t just ask them for their license number make sure you file and make sure that their license is actually valid and it hasn’t been expired or anything okay and then you also want so you want those policies in hand before the work the for the work starts you want to make sure that any of the trades people that they hire especially if it’s a general contractor hiring an electrician and a plumber that you also have copies of their insurance you know make sure that they’re insured also you don’t want anyone on your property who’s not insured because you do not want someone to break a leg and sue you the other things you want to do is you can ask for a lien waiver and what that does is that’s going to cover you if the contractor doesn’t pay his employees they can come back to you and sue you and put a lien against your house so you wanna make sure you get a lien waiver too if the contractor is not willing to do that you probably walk away because any contractor that does good work is more than happy to provide that um and hey you know the here’s a big hit for me this is a big red flag if the contractor that you’re interviewing is really kind of iffy and trying to decide step around any of these questions that you have for them especially their insurance and then also their license you need to just say goodbye because here’s why I have a friend who hired a contractor to do work in her house he renovated two bathrooms okay and he did okay work but then a year down the road she found out one he wasn’t licensed to the work that he had done suddenly they started having problems and they the the tile wasn’t prepared properly there wasn’t the substrate underneath so all of a sudden they had water getting behind the tile they had water dripping down their walls they had mold they had water leaking into downstairs and a lot of that could have been prevented if they had found out if he was licensed ahead of time and then also he told them that he didn’t they didn’t need permits and so that too could have prevented any issues if he had needed permits he would have had to have the inspections done so really really be careful about who you let in your house and also I hear this over and over again and I know I would fall for this – yeah your friend or your uncle or whatever refers someone and says they’re great that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do all this due diligence and like really find out how great they are so I’m gonna go ahead and finish up unless you have any questions for me and feel free also if you’re watching this and the replay go ahead and ask me some questions in the comments and I will try to get back and answer them so good luck guys stay safe and you know be careful who you let in your house make sure don’t feel embarrassed about asking for any of these things this is all standard especially if you’re hiring someone to work on your house.

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