11 Questions to Ask When Selecting a General Contractor

Here are 11 questions to ask when interviewing general contractors to convert your property to a PadSplit.

March 01, 2022

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You’ve made it past the first step of your PadSplit journey, and now it’s time to kick off your renovation. With the PadSplit model, you can optimize your property for coliving and increase your returns by converting existing space into additional bedrooms. 

With that in mind, many Hosts bring on a general contractor to optimize their property before listing. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time working with a contractor, here are a few questions we recommend asking potential vendors during the interview process.

11 Questions to Ask When Interviewing General Contractors

How long have you been in business? 

Find out their background. Companies in operations for many years have likely worked through a lot of the growing pains of young companies already, and they’ve also created systems for communication and project management. It’s okay to ask how long a contractor has been in the industry and how long they’ve run the company. What do they enjoy about the job? What have they learned along the way? Longer tenure doesn’t necessarily mean better service or quality, but you want to ensure your project isn’t the first of its type for a contractor.

Do you have a contracting license and proper insurance? 

Accidents can happen, and you want to ensure your contractor can cover any costs associated with an accident while working on your project. If a contractor doesn’t have proper licensing or insurance, this is a red flag. It’s okay to ask for a copy of a contractor’s insurance certificate. Most contractors are happy to provide the documentation to ensure you feel comfortable with their coverage. 

Will you obtain the necessary permits and set up the inspections required?

You’ll want to make sure the general contractor is familiar with the local building code required and the permitting process in your county. If you hire a contractor unfamiliar with the process, it could lead to delays in your renovation. The longer a renovation takes, the more time between closing and your first PadSplit payout.

What services do you offer, and where is your service area?

What type of projects have they worked on in the past? If your PadSplit needs an additional bathroom added, is that something they experience doing? Ask to see examples of similar projects they’ve done in the past. Not only do you want to learn about their services, but you also want to make sure they work in the area. Location can be a limiting factor for some companies, so don’t waste your time speaking with someone who doesn’t service the place your PadSplit is located.

Are you familiar with the PadSplit model? 

Find out if the General Contractor has worked on PadSplit properties previously. Do they know what PadSplit is? While this isn’t a dealbreaker, it’s helpful to work with someone who understands the PadSplit scope of work and is aligned with the project goals.

What does your current work volume look like? 

It’s essential to ask about other projects they’re currently working on to get a sense of their workload. Do they limit the number of projects they take on at one time? How do they prioritize projects? You’ll also want to find out the scope of those projects so you can determine if they’re an overall good fit. 

How are your jobs managed? 

Sticking to deadlines is important during renovations of any size. Ask how many individual crews they have to understand how they balance their workload. Find out how their crews manage delays.

Who is the main point of contact during the project? 

Excellent communication is an integral part of the renovation process, and you’ll want to find out who your main point of contact during your renovation. Ask who the on-site project manager will be. Will you be able to contact them directly with questions or for updates? You should feel confident you will have someone on-site tracking each part of your renovation. 

What does the payment schedule look like?

It’s rare for a contractor to ask you to pay the full price up front, though many contractors might require an upfront deposit. A payment schedule is a timeline of payments made throughout a project. Does the contractor expect you to make payments based on timelines or milestones? While these may sometimes overlap, you want to make sure you are aligned on the payment schedule and terms before any work begins. 

What dollar amount can you cash flow for jobs?

Because you aren’t paying for your project in its entirety upfront, you’ll want to find out how your contractor manages a steady cash flow. Ask them what dollar amount they can cash flow for jobs. Do they have access to capital if another client misses a payment? A good contractor will be experienced in managing cash flow, so it’s okay to ask these questions. 

Can I talk to a few references?

Talking to former clients will help you understand what it’s like to work with the contractor you’re considering. Ask them about the process, timeliness, and final product. You can even ask to visit some job sites to look for cleanliness. Don’t be afraid to ask for virtual showings for ease and convenience. 

Final Thoughts

Renovations can feel overwhelming at first, and that’s why it’s important to ensure you have a quality team to work alongside. A contractor can make — or break— your renovation project. Finding the right fit will determine the quality and timeliness of the work is completed. Asking these questions to several contractors you’re considering for your PadSplit renovation will help you feel more confident in your decision. 

Need help finding General Contractors to interview? A great place to start is with personal referrals or the PadSplit Vendor Network. Log into your PadSplit Host account, and search based on vendor type and location. 

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