How to Interview Pros: 10 Questions to Ask

Have you worked on a project like this before?

Answer You Want to Hear: Yes.

It’s important to make sure contractors specializing in trades such as solar, HVAC, window replacement or roofing are familiar with the needs of your project. Depending on the scope of your project, or the complexity of it, you need to ensure the contractor has the necessary experience. If you have an unusual project, find out how your contractor will approach it based on their past jobs.
Replacement Roof

Are you licensed?

Answer You Want to Hear: Yes, depending on the state that you live in.

Many states require a contractor to be licensed in their trade, and city codes vary by city. Research your city’s requirements regarding licensed contractors and ensure your contractor meets them. Check out our local information pages for Solar, HVAC, Windows and Roofing for specific information on your city or state!

What kind of insurance do you carry? Worker’s Comp? Liability?

Answer You Want to Hear: We have Worker’s Compensation insurance and general liability insurance.

Worker’s Compensation protects you if a worker is injured while working on your property, while also caring for the injured worker. General liability insurance ensures that if a worker or contractor injures someone else, or damages property,  you are not held liable.

job site dumpster

How do you dispose of refuse?

Answer You Want to Hear: We bring our own container to dispose of refuse material.

Depending on your project, you will most likely have old material to dispose of and simply tossing it in your trash cans is not an option. Your contractor should provide a large container that can handle discarded construction materials. This cost can be passed on to you, so make sure you discuss this with your contractor.

A follow up question would be to find out where they will keep the container. This answer is dependent upon your property. If they say they will put it on your driveway, find out what they will do if the container damages your driveway— as the pressure can cause the driveway to crack.

roof repair in rain

What will you do in case of inclement weather?

Answer You Want to Hear: Protect the job site with tarps and plastic covers.

Rain happens. You want to make sure your contractor has a plan to protect your home while work is being done, especially when installing a new roof or windows.

Is there a warranty?

Answer Your Want to Hear: Yes.

Depending on your project, items being installed should come with some sort of warranty. Talk to you contractor to find out what that warranty is, and if you have the option to extend it.

HVAC Contractor

How can I reach you? Will there be someone on site to answer my questions?

Answer  You Want to Hear: Yes

Your contractor should provide his or her contact information, as well as the information for the site manager for times when they are unavailable. The site manager can answer your questions and address your concerns about your project.

Do you provide a written estimate?

Answer You Want to Hear: Yes

A written estimate provides the detailed scope of the project and its cost. Make sure the estimate includes information about removing refuse — removing the items being replaced (like an old roof or windows.)

contractor written estimate

Do you have some references with whom I can speak?

Answer You Want to Hear: Yes

A contractor should be able to provide you with several references for you to call. The references should be able to talk about the contractor’s ability to stay within—or close to—the timeline, as well as their own satisfaction with the results. If a contractor isn’t willing to share references, try to find out why as this could be a red flag that they aren’t the right contractor for the job.

Do you third-party contract?

Answer You Want to Hear: No.

Some contractors get hired for a job, and then immediately farm out the work. This is confusing for you, the homeowner, as it’s hard to tell who is in charge. Moreover, if something goes wrong it is easy for the contractor and third-party contractor to blame one another, making it difficult to come to a resolution.

Now that you’re prepared for the interview, here are our top tips to pick the best pro for you!

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