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!