Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Vision has been in business since 2003. Look for a company with an established business history in your community. Surviving in any business in today's competitive marketplace is a difficult task. Most successful contractors are proud of their history in the industry.
Q: Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job?
A: Vision will assign a personal supervisor with their email and cell phone information. Ask whom you should contact if the supervisor is not available. Get exact names and contact phone numbers for all persons who will be involved in the project.
Q: What is the time frame for starting the project?
A: Vision will cover all time frames upon completion of scope of work and will discuss in person details. Now is the time to ask questions about work schedules. You should ask: What is your estimate for completion? How early will your crew normally begin work? When will they normally quit for the day? Will I be contacted about delays or changes in the schedule? By whom?
Q: What is your approach to a project of this scope?
A: Each project is different and is handled for each person’s unique scope. This will give you an idea of how the contractor works and what to expect during the project. Listen carefully to the answer. This is one of the big indicators of the company's work ethic.
Q: How do you operate?
A: Vision has both employees and trade contractors. We have a personal project supervisor as well as lead trade. In addition, we have office staff that has knowledge of every project and is involved in all aspects of your project. In other words, how is your firm organized? Do you have employees or do you hire subcontractors? If you do have employees, what are their job descriptions? Do you use a project supervisor or lead carpenter to oversee the project? Other firms will have additional positions. You should know what parts of your project will be handled by staff, and which will be contracted out to independent contractors.
Q: Is your company a full service or specialty firm?
A: Vision is a full service design-build firm. If you are planning a small project, say replacing the bathroom plumbing, you may be better off hiring a specialty plumbing firm or a bathroom remodeler. However, if your project involves multiple changes, entire rooms or additions, you should consult a full service or design-build firm.
Q: Do you have design services available?
A: Vision both has an in-house design team and partners to help for any size project. If you are considering a large or involved project, you will need design services. If the contractor does not have design-build capabilities, you should consider hiring an architect. Depending on the size and scope of the project, you may need an architect or structural engineer.
Q: Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance?
A: Vision provides proof of insurance upon request and provides contact info with references. Ask for copies of the insurance certificates to verify coverage. In addition, some states require licensing and registration. If your state does have construction licensing laws, ask for your contractor's registration and license, then confirm the license number and expiration date with your local jurisdiction.
Q: Are any of your company's employees certified?
A: Vision Design and Build is both a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) and Graduate Master Builder (GMB). Trade certifications are good indicators of dedication, professionalism and knowledge of the industry. Remodelers are required to meet certain industry criteria to maintain their certifications. NAHB offers many designations.
Q: May I have a list of references for projects you have completed which are similar to mine?
A: Vision provides references upon first meeting. We also can arrange to see current projects. The contractor should be able to supply you with a minimum of three references, including names, telephone numbers and addresses. As a follow up to this question, ask how long ago the project was completed and if the contractor can arrange a visit to see the finished job. You should also ask for professional references from suppliers or subcontractors to verify sound business practices.
Q: What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?
A: A large percentage of our business is from referrals and seeing our current projects in production. This will give you a good indication about the company's customer satisfaction. According to research conducted by NAHB, most remodeling businesses attribute over 50 percent of their annual volume to customer referrals; some even claim up to 90 percent or more of their total annual sales.
Q: How many projects like mine have you completed in the past 12 months?
A: Vision does approximately 50+ jobs a year, so there is a good chance that we have done a similar project recently. This will help you determine the contractor's familiarity with your type of project. You should confirm that a good portion of those completed projects were similar to the type of project you are proposing.
Q: Will we need a permit for this project?
A: All necessary permits and authorizations are handled by Vision’s Design Team. Most cities and towns require permits for building projects. Failure to obtain the necessary permits or to arrange obligatory inspections can be illegal. In some cases, if a project violates a zoning law or some other regulations, it may even have to be demolished if there is no way to comply with the law. A qualified remodeling contractor will be conscious of the permit process, and ensure that all permits have been obtained before initiating any work.
Q: May I have a list of your suppliers?
A: Vision provides a list of suppliers upon request. You may want to add calling the contractor's suppliers to your list of follow up actions. This will help protect you from mechanics liens for nonpayment by the contractor. Suppliers also can be a source to establish credit history for the company.
Q: What is your contractor’s remodeling license?
A: Vision Design and Build’s license number is IC1-914765 and their TRCC (Texas Residential Construction Committee) number is 23524.This is important for proper registration and knowledge of their trade. It is also needed for permit registration and TRCC warranty.
Q: What trade organizations is the remodeler currently active?
A: Vision is a member of Greater San Antonio Builders Association, Remodelers Council, National Association of Home Builders and Texas Association of Home Builders.