10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Contractor


Don't Just Stop at the Contractor

It never hurts to do a little investigating to make sure all of your renovation projects are really approved.
It never hurts to do a little investigating to make sure all of your renovation projects are really approved.

While it's important to ask the contractor about any permits needed, don't think that due diligence after that isn't required. Many cities and counties have online resources that will let the homeowner know what is required from renovation or construction projects. Use those materials to double check your contractor, or call the permit center and inquire about any necessary codes to follow.

Another important reason to double check permits with the city or county is that your homeowner's insurance isn't a fan of unpermitted work; if something does go wrong, the chances that they'll cover your claim if the correct permits haven't been pulled is very slim. You can even go the extra step and check with your insurance about what permits are required, should a claim be filed.

If you're still yearning to build a stronger base of knowledge about contractors or home improvement projects, read on for lots more information.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • "10 Tips: Make sure Your Contractor Measures Up." Contractors State License Board. (Dec. 8, 2008) http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPamphlets/TenTips.pdf
  • Alden, Deb. "Questions to Ask a Contractor Before You Hire." BobVila.com. 2007. (Dec. 8, 2008) http://www.bobvila.com/HowTo_Library/Ask_Before_You_Hire-Hiring_a_Pro-A2699.html
  • "Ask the Contractors License Board." San Francisco Chronicle. March 17, 2007. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/17/HOGLSOJURH1.DTL
  • "Checklist: Recommended Items to Ask a Contractor. ServiceMagic.com. (Dec. 8, 2008) http://www.servicemagic.com/article.show.Checklist-Recommended-Questions-to-Ask-a-Contractor.11498.html
  • ContractorsFromHell.com Web site. (Dec. 8, 2008) http://www.contractorsfromhell.com/index.html
  • Goins, Larry. "10 Questions to Ask a Remodeling Contractor." BiggerPockets.com. (Dec. 8, 2008) http://www.biggerpockets.com/articles/remodeling-contractor-lg.html
  • National Roofing Contractors Association. "FYI." 2011. (Dec. 21, 2011) http://www.nrca.net/consumer/fyi.aspx
  • Rocky Mountain Bathrooms. "Ten Questions to Ask a Contractor." 2009. (Dec. 21, 2011.) http://www.rockymountainbathrooms.com/top.10.questions.to.ask.every.contractor.htm
  • Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. "Homeowners Need to be Careful About Hiring Unlicensed Contractors." Oct. 1, 2006. (Dec. 21, 2011.) http://www.silvar.org/index.cfm/article_11.htm
  • Washington, Joe. "Before You Start That Remodeling Job..." Atlanta Home Show Presentation. Sept. 26, 2008. (Dec. 8, 2008)
  • "What to Ask a Potential Contractor." DoItYourself.com. 2006. (Dec. 8, 2008) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/contractorhire


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