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50 Contractor Interview Questions

50 Contractor Interview Questions

You may want to modify the order of the questions. A question I propose may stimulate a question you feel is important. Remember, YOU control the interview. The contractor is on the hot seat, not you. If at all possible, try to have a spouse present with you. Have the spouse ask some of the questions. Don't be shy. Remember, the contractor has sat through many a presentation, while this may be your first attempt. Open up the discussion by telling the contractor, "It is important to me that I get to know you. I need to trust that you are the right person to work on my home." Words similar to that set the stage quite well!

  • How many people - direct employees - work for your company?
    This answer will give you an indication of company depth.

  • What are their job descriptions?
    This answer tells you if the contractor has adequate support staff.
  • What do they do each day?
    You should get a feel if the people are full or part time.
  • How many jobs does your company have in progress right now?
    Will your job be lost among these?
  • What is the average number of jobs you do at the same time?
    Does this number seem in line with the amount of support staff

  • Do you have any other outstanding bids right now?
    If these turn into jobs, will your job drop to the bottom of the list?
  • Do you work from your home?
    This can be a sign of under-capitalization. I never had an office of my own, so ask more if this is important to you. 
  • How do you manage your jobs on a day-to day basis?
    All jobs require management. Ask for details! Who checks for quality, mistakes and progress?

  • Who will be on-site and in charge of my job each day?
    Get a name and cell phone/pager number!
  • Have you or your company ever been sued before?
    The truth is available in the courthouse records!
  • Have you or your company ever sued anyone or filed mechanics liens before?
    What happened? Why the disagreement?
  • What is the worst building experience that happened to you?
    Listen! What is the story behind the tale?
  • What has been your best building experience?
    Listen! What is it he/she likes to do? Ask why.
  • What are your business ambitions?
    Are the words quality, customer satisfaction in the answer? If you hear, "...make a lot of money..." WATCH OUT!
  • Have you ever been on unemployment before?
    Many people have. Ask why, how long.
  • What is the longest amount of down-time you experienced between jobs?
    A contractor in demand has little or no down time.
  • Who were your two best customers? Why?
    Listen! Do you sound similar or opposite?
  • Who were your two worst customers? Why?
    Listen very closely..... do you sense a conflict on the horizon?
  • Who do you most admire? Why?
    It better be the person's spouse or a close family member.
  • Do you volunteer to work at your church? Describe.
    Need I say more?
  • Do you have children? Ages?
    If so, does the contractor seem interested in them? Sense any negativity?
  • Do you do volunteer work at your child's school? Describe.
    Coaching, PTO, committees, etc?
  • Have you/your company ever caused/been involved in an accident that caused someone to receive hospital treatment or be hospitalized?
    This is ANY accident. Automobile, construction incident, etc.
  • What is the dumbest thing you ever did?
    Was this recent activity or a childhood mistake?
  • What is the smartest thing you have done?
    Look for wisdom here. Do you sense intelligence or luck?
  • May I please inspect the inside of your truck or car?
    This tells / shows organizational skills.
  • Do you use sub-contractors?
    Most contractors do.
  • What is average length of time they have worked for you?
    You are looking for 5 or more years here!
  • Do these individuals have Workman's Comp & General Liability coverage?
    Better be a "Yes!
  • Can you supply me with the individual certificates from each company to prove this? When will I have them?
    Stop the conversation and write down the day he says they will be delivered.
  • May I please see your driver's license?
    He/she may not have one! DUI, suspension, etc. Stranger things have happened!
  • What are your two favorite hobbies?
    Everyone needs to unwind. Listen for things that you like.
  • What is the title of the last book you read?
    Listen! This answer tells you much about personal interests
  • What trade magazines do you subscribe to?
    Ask to borrow some back issues for design ideas.
  • Do you have Internet access?
    In today's world, it should be a "Yes!"
  • What are your 2 favorite building & remodeling websites?
    Go visit them. See what you can learn.
  • When was your last vacation?
    It better be within the past 18 months.
  • Where did you go?
    Modest or extravagant
  • Do you plan to vacation during my job?
    If "Yes", who will manage in his/her absence?
  • What do you want to accomplish in life?
    Listen again. Is it a selfish answer or one that has a sharing theme?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations?
    A "Yes" would be preferable, but not necessary.
  • If "Yes", do you attend regular meetings or hold an office within the association?
    Active membership tells you a Pro is answering the question!
  • Do you attend national trade conventions?
    Ask where and when. Where is the next one? Go to www.nahb.com to find out!
  • Have you taken any continuing education classes?
    In what areas?
  • Where do you bank?
    Is it local?
  • Do you have a separate company bank account?
    Mixing funds in one account is a recipe for disaster.
  • Do you supply notarized affidavits or release of liens BEFORE I give you payments of any kind?
    This must be a "YES!" It is unconditional.
  • Do you invest in the stock market?
    Doesn't have to be a "Yes", but is this person a forward thinker - a planner?
  • Who are your top 3 material suppliers?
    Contact the GM at each place. Is the contractor in good standing?
  • Have you ever declared bankruptcy or operated a company under a different name?
    Listen to this answer!

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