Did you know that more than 13 million ADUs have been built? With so many people adding an accessory dwelling unit to their property, you might be considering adding one yourself. Before you make a final decision on the contractors you choose, there are a few key questions you want to make sure you ask them first.
Keep reading to learn the top questions to ask before signing any contracts.
- Have You Worked In My Community Before?
It is important to find out how long the contractor has been working in your local area including your community. The reason this is important is that laws are constantly changing and if a certain permit is not taken out you can end up with a large fine or you might even have to tear down the ADU.
The more time a contractor has spent in your community the more they will know about specific law changes such as https://actonadu.com/blog/california-adu-law-changes-2020. Another pro is that the more they have worked in the local area the stronger their relationships are with local city officials, suppliers, subcontractors, and craftsmen.
- What Are Your Credentials?
Not only do you want to ensure that your potential contractor is familiar with the laws and regulations in your area, you want to know what their credentials are. In some areas, a contractor has to be licensed by the state and also bonded for a certain amount.
Do your research on what the minimum requirements are in your city and state to make sure that your potential contractor meets those requirements. Also, ask them if they have general liability insurance for their business. Some states might even have a minimum amount per occurrence as part of their policy.
Do not be afraid to ask if they have ever had any liens, lawsuits, or prior claims. This will give you an idea of whether or not they stand behind their work or if they give customers issues and end up in a lawsuit.
- What Is Your Experience?
The last thing you want to do is hire someone that says they know what they are doing but they have zero experience in the ADU world. Take the time to check out their portfolio of accessory dwelling units that they have completed and ask if you can go see one or two in person.
Seeing their completed work and possibly meeting their previous clients will give you a great idea of their style and quality of work. It might even give you a chance to speak to those clients to see how happy they were during the build and if they are still happy after putting their ADU to the test. Ask for their honest opinion if they would recommend the contractor to a close relative or friend.
If you do have the opportunity to talk to contractor referrals ask them what were the best things about working with that contractor. This will help you see if the contractor was easy to work with and worked as a team or not.
You can also find out from that referral how the contractor responded to any change requests that they had throughout the project. Some contractors might react negatively towards a change while others might happily embrace the change. You always want to look for someone that will be more than happy to make the changes you request because at the end of the day you will be the one dealing with the ADU.
- Were Your Past Jobs Completed on Time?
No one likes when construction goes over the timeframe allotted but it can happen under certain circumstances. This question will help you know if the contractors might have too many projects going on at the same time. If they have several jobs that they have completed past the timeline then it might be a red flag to go with someone else or ask for a realistic timeframe if you really like their quality of work.
- Can You Design My ADU?
This is another important question to ask because you want to prepare ahead of time if you do need to hire an architect. Some contractors do not have the capability of designing the ADU but they might have someone that they can refer to you, that they have worked with, in the past.
- What Subcontractors Will Work on the Project?
Before you finalize your decision on your contractor you want to be aware of the subcontractors that will be working on the job. The longer a contractor has been in business the higher the chances that they have regular subcontractors that they hire for certain tasks.
If the contractor does not really have a team of subcontractors off the top of their head, this means that they will have to spend extra time calling around for availability and getting bids in. This, in turn, means that your project might get off to a later start or that the quality of work might fluctuate because they are not familiar with the subcontractor’s work.
Ready to Interview Fellow ADU Contractors?
Now that you have our list of the top questions you want to ask potential ADU contractors you can get started on the research phase. Start looking for contractors nearby and also ask friends and family for referrals.
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