What to ask a contractor before you hire them

How far out are you booked?

This is one of the first questions we get as a GC. Typically we are booked about 2-4 months ahead and that has stayed pretty consistent throughout running our business. We have two carpentry teams that handle several multi faceted jobs so it’s very easy for us to keep that schedule.

who's doing the work and who will be in my home?

We have two separate teams that come into your home. A core crew, which consist of our carpenters who are doing mainly all things carpentry related including: cabinetry, finish work, demo, framing etc….

Our second team is our subcontractor team. These are folks with whom we have been working for over 5 years so it’s always the same crew coming in.

All of this is managed by a dedicated project manager who is also in house staff.

Do I need to pull permits?

We highly advise you do not pull your own permits for your project. If someone tells you that it’s “not structural” we advise you to throw up the red flag and ask questions. The reason for this, is many projects we take on involve very little structural work but because they are multi faceted we typically file a building permit with the town. You can check with your local building department as there are some projects that do not require a permit.

What are payments like with contractors?

Typically the 1/3 structure seems to hold true for a lot of contractors in Massachusetts. What we found to be more fair is that we do about 33% down and from there it’s a series of payments based on milestones in the project. For example our typical basement remodel has 8-10 payments based on major progress points.

Do I have to acquire my own materials?

If you already have some materials, or if you maybe bought a vanity or a sink fixture great! We don’t mind talking with you. However, be aware that this is something we do every day and logistic issues arise when you think you have everything, and you actually don’t. If you’re just starting, we highly recommend speaking to your GC about providing most things so that you don’t have worry about going to a local vendor or box store to try to pick up things for your project.

Also, when the contractor provides most of the products, including the things you don’t see in the wall, they can include that in their warranty when the project is finished.

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