7 Questions to Ask Your General Contractor Before Hiring


If you’re like me, vetting your General Contractor (GC) before hiring is high up on the to-do list. After all, this person and their team will be insideyour home, impacting your home’s ROI, and to some extent, determining the way your spaces look, feel & function for the next several years. 

Sooo… let the interviewing begin! Here are 7 questions I suggest asking your lucky General Contractor candidates, along with what to look for in their responses.

Q1. How many projects are you involved in now, and how quickly can you start? 

There’s no right or wrong answer here, as an experienced General Contractor should be able to successfully manage multiple projects at a time. However, if you’re comparing two professionals, their availability and project load may play into your decision.

Q2. Can I see a current project and/or chat with a former client?

Now this one is a make-or-break question. If your potential General Contractor doesn’t have projects to show you, or they are hush-hush about letting you speak to their past or current clients, those are big red flags. (Run the other way, fast!

If they do show you a past or current project, check to see that it’s similar to what you are trying to achieve and that the quality of work looks well done. Are tiles straight? Is paint applied neatly along the wall edges? Does the grout look even? Etc.

When chatting with a former client, be sure to ask about the GC’s skill at communication, timeliness, quality of work, cleanliness (did they remove dust and debris?), team member interaction, and the overall relationship with their former client had with them.


Q3. Do you subcontract trades or are your trades in-house full-time?

GCs will organize their teams in two ways: by subcontracting outside trades for specific projects (i.e. if you need an electrician, they’ll call up their favorite) or by having their trades as full-time staff within their company. 

In general, both options can lead to great results. An in-house team is likely to perform better with respect to organization, communication, timeliness, and responsibility. However, there are GCs who have worked with the same subcontractors for years and are equally successful. 

If I had to choose, I would go for the in-house team, but as you’re having this conversation, trust your instincts and what feels right to you. A really personable GC with subcontractors and high-quality projects is going to be a better fit than a grouchy GC with an in-house team and projects that appeal to you less. Judgment call — you got this!

Q4. Do you have liability insurance?

I think this one speaks for itself… if your GC doesn’t have liability insurance, red flag alert! Next.

Q5. How long have you been in business in this city, and in what neighborhoods do you mostly work?

Again, experience is a huge advantage to have in your GC, especially when it comes to the naturally complex nature of renovations. Knowing how long your GC has been working in the area, and where, will tell you if they have worked on homes similar to yours. Homes in most neighborhoods include the same general layout, plumbing, electrical, etc. 

Experience also means that your GC will know how to efficiently solve problems before they start, in addition to having thorough knowledge of any permits or city Codes that may need to be considered.

Quick note about CODES: Cities will have predictable permitting processes and Codes to follow. Having a GC that is aware of your city’s permit challenges and timelines is a big indicator of how smooth your project will run. On that same note, if your GC starts asking you not to pull permits on a major renovation project—red flag!! Run.

Q6. Where do you have your cabinets made, and what software do you use? 

Quality cabinets generally come from quality plans. No drawings = no consistent outcomes. Ask for the “shop drawings” for all of your final approvals. If your GC doesn’t use drawings, I would ask why and how they produce consistent cabinetry dimensions.

Custom cabinets vary widely in manufacturing. Sometimes the boxes are hand-built and the cabinet doors are ordered from door manufacturers, but we love hearing that the cabinets are templated and cut by a machine. We encourage you to understand the process prior to selecting a GC for the best quality outcome.   


Q7. Who sets the tile? Can I see pictures?

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to bathroom renovations is poorly set tiles. It’s always obvious when there’s a flaw in the layout, a rough edge, or grout stuck to a surface it shouldn’t be.

Inspecting the tile job of previous projects lets you judge the attention to detail and whether the quality is up to your standards. If you’re the Type A, everything-needs-to-be-precise kind of woman I am, the last thing you want is an askew tile annoying the crap out of you for the next several years. You’re welcome. 😉

That’s it for now, but if you’re looking for more time- and stress-saving info, download our free guide here: 3 Things to Know Before You Reno.


Styleberry Creative Interiors specializes in fresh, relaxed design crafted in a meaningful way. With a team and process you can trust, we’ll help you create soul-soothing spaces that inspire you to unwind, connect, and finally… exhale. Our studio is based in downtown San Antonio, Texas and serves clients in the Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, and greater San Antonio Metropolitan areas, as well as Nationwide.

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