Finding the right drywall contractor for your home renovation is just one of many tasks on your ever-growing list. Weeding out the inexperienced and unreliable companies is easier said than done, but you don’t have to go to it alone.
When interviewing potential drywall contractors, ask each company these set of questions:
Can you provide proof of insurance?
Liability insurance covers you against financial loss, should anything happen to the drywall contractor and he or she became unwilling or unable to complete the agreed work.
Are you licensed?
While a trades license isn’t required for drywall services in BC, having a valid business license to operate in your city will avoid any permitting or project timeline issues.
How long have you been in business?
Very new companies are more risky to work with, while established companies have less risk of bankruptcy and more of a reputation to investigate (positive or otherwise). Poorly-run companies don’t tend to last long in this competitive industry. Tenured companies not only have minimal flight risk, but they are proven to have ample experience in the work you will contract them for.
Who will oversee my project?
The project manager ensures quality and consistency on each job. Knowing who is responsible for this key task, how long they’ve been with the company, and how often they will be onsite can help you gauge the level of attention that will be payed to your project.
Do you have your own crew or will you subcontract?
Depending on the company’s business model, they may subcontract certain work out. That means the company you hire to do your project, may not be the company that actually completes the work. While it can be beneficial to have a trusted drywall contractor overseeing the work, understanding the dynamic of the project can help you set expectations. Non-sub contracted projects tend to have lower overhead and are often more affordable.
How long has your crew been with you?
This provides insights both on the experience of the crew(s) and the desirability of the contractor. While the drywall industry commonly has high-turnover, if non of a company's staff wants to stick around long, it may be an indication that it's not a great organization to work with.
How would you handle this job?
Understanding the process that a contractor plans to take--compared to others who you’re receiving quotes from--can be insightful. Listen for details on project stages, timeline, expected challenges, and details on cleanup. If you notice inconsistencies between contractors, ask about them to understand the logic. The cream will rise to the top, so to speak.
Will this work need permits and will you get them?
Permitting is an important and often time-consuming part of home renovations. It is rare for a drywall project to require a permit, but your contractor should be informed and willing to help.
What is your payment schedule?
Receiving a deposit for materials and to secure a spot on the schedule is a common practice, but requiring the majority of payment in advance is a red flag. Make sure you understand the terms, timeline, and method of payment in advance of any agreement.
Will you provide references?
Experienced contractors will have droves of happy clients who will sing their praises. You should also do your own online research to find out about any unsavory reputations. Bold clients can even ask directly if they have any negative reviews and provide an opportunity for honesty and explanation.
Will you provide a written contract?
Get it in writing. Even contractors with integrity can confuse or forget details of an agreement. A written contract will protect all parties involved and there is no reason a contractor shouldn’t provide one.
How long is your warranty and what does it cover?
Workmanship guarantees should be offered by every company you consider. Make sure to discuss what would void the warranty and what normal changes in the finished product should be expected over time.
Have you ever declared bankruptcy?
While everyone makes mistakes and comes on hard times, it’s your right as a consumer to know about the recent history of a contractor who you’re entrusting your home and your investment to. Reputable companies are accustomed to this question, so don’t hesitate to inquire.
With the right questions, making a decision on your drywall contractor is simple. Download our printable Drywall Contractor Interview Worksheet to keep track of how each company compares.