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A collection of tools used by general contractors in Charleston, including a socket wrench, adjustable wrench, tape measure, pliers, and putty knife.

Charleston General Contractor: 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring

Whether you're a homeowner in Charleston, SC with a long to-do list full of home repair and improvement tasks that you don't have time for, or you're a business owner with a commercial property that needs a major overhaul, it can be stressful to find and hire the right Charleston general contractor. You need someone experienced and capable of course, but they should also be courteous and behave professionally at all times.

The best course of action to find the best general contractor in Charleston, SC for your particular home or commercial repair and improvement needs is to call up the potential candidates you have in mind and ask them a few questions. By understanding their expectations upfront and making sure they understand yours as well, you can greatly increase the likelihood that you'll be totally pleased with the results of their service.

But what should you ask? This guide will explain some questions you may want to ask before you hire a general contractor. If you want to go straight to the part where you're speaking with a qualified Charleston handyman, call the team of experienced service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville. We are proud to serve the people of Charleston and other nearby communities with outstanding workmanship and customer service that goes the extra mile.

What Can a Charleston General Contractor Do For My Home or Business?

That depends entirely on the general contractor you choose. There's a wide breadth of services they may offer, from minor repair and maintenance tasks to a full-on construction project or building project. That's why smart hiring practices always include asking the right questions before choosing who to hire.

You need someone who has the correct equipment, certification and experience to get through the entire process efficiently, while providing effective service and keeping their focus on customer satisfaction. At Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville, our team is licensed to carry out a huge range of services, including electrical and plumbing installations, HVAC work and more. That includes tasks such as:

  • Kitchen renovations

  • Bathroom renovations

  • Cabinet installation

  • Drywall installation and finishing

  • Drywall repair

  • Tile installation

  • Tile repair

  • Flooring installation, including luxury vinyl planks (LVP)

  • Exterior and interior door repair & installation

  • Window repair

  • Caulking

  • Grouting

  • Deck, patio and porch construction

  • Deck and porch refinishing

  • Wood rot repair

  • Ceiling repair

  • Interior and exterior trim painting & repair

  • Pet door installation

  • Siding repair

  • Fascia board repair

  • Soffit repair

  • Fence repair

  • Fence installation

  • Stair and handrail installation

  • Pressure washing

  • Furniture assembly

  • Safety and mobility modifications for aging in place

  • Weatherproofing

  • General property maintenance for residential and commercial buildings

What Questions Should I Ask Before I Hire a General Contractor in Charleston, SC?

Naturally you want to hire a Charleston general contractor who will be experienced, well-suited to the requirements of your project and ready to provide outstanding customer service. Once you've got a list with a couple possibilities for companies or individuals that may fit the bill, the best way to determine if they're the right fit for you is to call them up and ask a few questions to get to the bottom of their skills, experience and expectations.

Sometimes homeowners feel uncomfortable asking these types of questions before hiring for home services, because they worry that they're being too aggressive, or they'll offend the person they're speaking with. There's really no need to worry about that. Any general contractor or Charleston handyman company that is proud of the work they do will be more than pleased with the opportunity to tell you all about it, so go ahead and ask. This is, after all, your residential or commercial property and you need to know that it's in good hands. Here are some questions you may want to ask before you seal the deal.

1. Can You Take On This Kind of Project?

Not every general contractor is willing and able to do every kind of residential or commercial repair and improvement work, so it's important to first ask if they can handle the type of project you have in mind for your property. Whether you have a list of smaller maintenance tasks and repairs that need to be taken care of, or you need help with a major improvement or renovation, you want to find someone who is capable of seeing the entire project through from start to finish. They may have a list of their local handyman services available online, but it's not always exhaustive. If you need a service that isn't listed, it doesn't hurt to ask.

2. Are You Fully Licensed for This Work?

The next thing you need to confirm is that they have the appropriate license for the work you need done. You may assume that all general contractors or handyman professionals are licensed, but that's not always the case. Some general contractors aren't able to complete the licensing process for whatever reason and will still try to do the work unlicensed.

At Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville, we are fully licensed to do pretty much any residential or commercial repair, maintenance and improvement tasks you can think of, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC and gas fitting. Our multi-skilled Charleston handyman team can handle a wide range of tasks, so you don't have to worry about hiring and managing multiple contractors to take care of this and that.

3. How Experienced Are You?

The more experience a Charleston general contractor has, the better. Experience brings the ability to think outside the box and find innovative solutions when necessary, or improve on a method to get even better results. It's important to ask if your chosen company or individual has experience with the particular work you need done. Just because they've done some tile installation in the past, that doesn't mean they're ready to renovate a kitchen. Be specific and clearly explain the scope of the project you have in mind, and ask them to explain what similar work they've done in the past.

4. Do You Have Insurance?

Whoever you hire to work on your residential or commercial property, it's critical that they have insurance coverage for their protection and yours. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong on the job site (AKA your property) and something is damaged or someone is injured, you need to know that you won't be on the hook to cover those costs. Much like licensing, there are some contractors who can't obtain insurance coverage because they haven't been working long enough, or they have too many prior claims. All members of our handyman team work with complete coverage, and also have the training to work carefully and prioritize safety so they can avoid any accidents in the first place.

5. Can I See Photos of Your Finished Work?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and no one knows that better than a Charleston general contractor. That's why a handyman who is doing good work will usually take plenty of before and after photos of their local work to show off their skill. You may also be able to see photos from satisfied customers in online reviews. Browsing through those images lets you get a good look at what they are capable of, so you can judge for yourself if it's up to your standards.

6. Will You Hire Sub-Contractors to Work on My Property?

In the construction and home repair or improvement industries, it's quite common for a Charleston general contractor to use sub-contractors from time to time, so there's nothing inherently wrong with the practice. But it can come as a surprise if you expect the work to be done by the person you spoke with prior, only to have someone else show up at your door on the day of service. By confirming who exactly will be doing the work, you'll know in advance who to expect on your property and can make sure you're happy with the choice that has been made.

7. What Is Your Time Estimate to Get This Done?

Since many general contractors and Charleston handyman professionals charge an hourly rate, asking for a rough estimate of how long they think the project will take can give you a ballpark figure of how much you'll need to budget for labor. It also gives you a better idea of whether you'll need to take time off work, or find alternate accommodations while the project is underway.

However, it's important to keep in mind that any time estimate they give you over the phone is just an educated guess based on how long similar projects have taken in the past. There may be other factors with your particular project that will influence the time needed to get it done, and they won't know that until they've been able to investigate the situation in person. Once they've seen it for themselves, they can give you a more accurate timeline for completion.

8. What Are the Expectations for Billing and Payment?

Different companies and individual general contractors have different practices when it comes to billing and payment, so you should find out upfront if their expectations are going to be agreeable to you. For example, is the total fee due upfront before the work begins, or will they bill you later? Are payment arrangements possible? Do they only accept cash? Are certain credit cards out of the question? Make sure everyone's on the same page and you can accept the way they've chosen to do business so there aren't any uncomfortable surprises when it's time to pay.

9. What Happens If There's a Need for Additional Costs?

Speaking of payment, what happens if unexpected expenses arise? Renovation and improvement project costs are notorious for going over budget. Sometimes it's because the homeowner changes their mind part-way through the process, but more often than not it's because your Charleston general contractor discovers something during the work that needs to be addressed. For example, they may remove tile from your bathroom floor and discover that the subfloor or floor joists are suffering from moisture damage that has to be corrected before it worsens and spreads. If something like that happens, your general contractor should communicate with you immediately and clearly explain the problem, their recommendations for fixing it and any additional costs that will be incurred as a result. That way, you can make an informed decision about what's best for your home—and your bank account.

10. Do You Provide a Guarantee on Your Workmanship?

Finally, you should check to see if the company or contractor you're talking with guarantees their workmanship. If an installation or repair is not finished correctly and breaks down a short time afterwards, will they come back and get it fixed up at no extra cost to you? Or will you be on your own and out-of-pocket for mistakes that someone else made?

Mr. Handyman only hires the best Charleston, SC has to offer, so we're very confident our service professionals will meet—or even exceed—your expectations for superior workmanship from a Charleston general contractor. That's why we stand behind them 100% with the Done Right Promise: if it's not done right, we'll make it right!

Looking for a Charleston General Contractor? Call the Professionals at Mr. Handyman!

Now that you know what to ask before hiring a general contractor, we invite you to call us up and ask every one of the questions listed above! We're certain you'll be impressed by our answers and the quality of our services. Whether you need help with a home remodeling project or you just need a few basic home improvements, you can rely on the team of professionals at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville for outstanding customer care and workmanship. We proudly serve many nearby areas, including Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, Johns Island and Moncks Corner.

Pick up the phone and call 843-940-7525 to book an appointment at a convenient time, or to chat with our friendly office staff and find out more about why we're the number-one choice for dependable handyman services in Charleston, SC.