30 Things To Discuss With Your Contractor Before Starting a Remodel

The most common issues during a remodel typically have to do with communication. Failing to discuss all of the important details of your project with your contractor is a recipe for disaster. Once you hire your contractor, but BEFORE you start your project, it is crucial to discuss all of the small details that lead to a successful, stress-free remodel. 


After speaking with thousands of homeowners about the common pitfalls when it comes to remodeling, we’ve created a list of our top 30 things that you should discuss with your contractor. Download this guide, bring it with you to your pre-construction meeting with your contractor, and put everything in writing so there is never any confusion about your plan.


30 Things To Discuss With Your Contractor Before Starting a Remodel


  1. Are there periods where you or the contractor plan to be out of town or unavailable?
  2. Do you have kids or pets that the contractor needs to consider or plan for?
  3. Will the contractor be sealing off portions of the home to reduce dust & smells, etc?
  4. Who will be responsible for picking up materials, appliances, etc. from retail stores?
  5. Convey to your contractor your desired working days and hours.
  6. Make sure to get a few alternative contacts & phone numbers in case contractor is unreachable.
  7. Determine the best contact person for day-to-day interactions.
  8. Find out if there will be an onsite construction person that is authorized to communicate with you?
  9. Determine the contractor’s preferred method for you to communicate issues that arise (phone/text/email, etc).
  10. Schedule a specific day/time to walk the job with contractor on a weekly or biweekly basis.
  11. Determine which bathroom the work crew will be using; and whether a port-o-potty will be available onsite?
  12. Determine where the work crew will prepare and eat their lunch. Are they allowed to use the kitchen, etc?
  13. Ask the contractor to give you deadlines for choosing all the various materials, so you don’t cause project delays.
  14. Get copies of insurance certificates, ask to be added to policy as ‘additional insured’ and make sure policy doesn’t expire during your project.
  15. Determine and agree on how to deal with change orders and extra costs.
  16. Ask whether they use their own crew or subcontractors.
  17. Ask what potential issue they might foresee in this kind of project.
  18. Convey whether any areas in your home/property are off-limits to workers (& post a sign).
  19. Convey the places that workers should & shouldn’t park. (is driveway off limits?)
  20. Discuss specific plans to dispose of construction waste. (trash cans, dumpster, etc)
  21. Review the contractors written warranty and ask whether it covers installed materials you purchased.
  22. Ask for a rough schedule of progress, so you can tell if the project is falling behind.
  23. Agree on a payment schedule that aligns with certain progress milestones.
  24. Make a list of all finish materials and determine whether homeowner or contractor will be paying for each item.
  25. Agree in advance how clean you expect the work-site to look at the end of each day.
  26. Discuss acceptable worker behavior. Ex: where can workers take their breaks; are they allowed to play music; is smoking permitted, etc.
  27. Determine whether contractor expects disruptions to utilities – electricity, water, gas.
  28. Verbalize to your contractor any specific expectations you have of them and their crew with regard to communication, behavior, interaction, timing, etc.
  29. Convey to your contractor any information they should know about your preferences regarding the look of the finished product.
  30. Ask the contractor what you can do to help the project move along smoothly, on schedule and on budget.


Interested in more tips on planning a successful remodel? Below are a few more articles on the topic:

10 Common Home Remodeling Surprises, and how to avoid them!

How To Set Realistic Expectations For Your Renovation Project

5 Tip For Living at Home While Renovating

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