What to Ask a General Contractor Before Renovating

Here is what to ask a general contractor before hiring one, and avoid surprises during your renovation

Two GCs posing at a work site

Which contractor is right for your project?

Before signing a renovation contract, you’ll want to know exactly what to ask a general contractor so you know what you’re getting into. We’ll go over some of the questions you’re likely to have, and some you might not have considered. Use all of the information you receive to formulate your decisions—definitely before signing, and ideally before your contractor creates an estimate. 

  • What level of design work are you including? Will you help with material and fixture selection?
  • Can I provide any of my own materials or fixtures? How do we coordinate this?
  • Can you suggest any better / faster / lower cost alternatives to any parts of our project?
  • Does the project require an architect or structural engineer? Is this included in the budget?
  • Are you including permit fees and inspections? What role will you play in obtaining permits?
  • Do you foresee any delays or stumbling blocks in obtaining permits?

How to ask the general contractor tricky questions

There are also some questions you should avoid:

  • Can you come down in price?
    (Instead, ask: how can we adjust the scope to bring the budget down to $XX.00)
  • Can we cut costs by skipping some of the permits or ignoring some aspect of the building codes?
    (It would be unprofessional to ask a licensed general contractor to risk their license and career for your convenience. Instead ask about legitimate ways to reduce your budget.)

If there are any questions you’re not sure about asking your general contractor, you can always ask us at Sweeten. Schedule a call with a renovation specialist by emailing c[email protected].

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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Sweeten brings homeowners an exceptional renovation experience by personally matching trusted general contractors to your project, while offering expert guidance and support—at no cost to you.

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“It was great to work with Sweeten. They provided excellent choices, and were honest with us when we asked questions. We recommend them for others like us with no previous experience.”

— Mary C. from Philadelphia, PA

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