During a construction or renovation, the contractor you choose will have a significant impact on not only the end result but every step of the process. For this reason, it's important to find a contractor that you will enjoy working with and who will provide you with the quality and professionalism you're looking for. Most homeowners aren't surprised to discover that they need to interview a few contractors before choosing one for the job. However, knowing what questions to ask is a little trickier. Here are some questions you should ask a potential contractor before making a commitment.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
Just because a business is young doesn't mean that they can't provide high quality results, but it can mean that they're still working out the kinks in their systems. A mature contracting business likely has systems and controls to ensure that they meet deadlines, work within the budget, and provide high quality work. While this isn't a make-or-break question, it can provide insight into what you can expect from the project.
Are You Licensed?
Licensing requirements vary widely from one state to another (or sometimes even from one city to another), so it's important not to assume that a contractor is bonded, licensed, and insured. Make sure your contractor has the relevant certifications for their field; a business license alone isn't enough, as it only means they can operate a business and doesn't necessarily mean they are a credentialed contractor.
How Do You Handle Permits and Inspections?
Not every renovation project will require permits and inspections, but if any changes are made to your home's structure, then these will probably be required. Most contractors will obtain the proper permits and set up the necessary inspections on your behalf.
What Is the Timeline?
While unexpected circumstances can crop up and alter the timeline over the course of the project, you should have a general timeframe of when your project will start and when it will be completed. Find out if your contractor is currently or is expecting to be working on other projects that could affect your own project, and ask how changes to the timeline will be addressed.
What Is the Payment Schedule?
You should never pay for the entire project upfront, and if a contractor asks for the full amount before the project even begins, that's a red flag. Before the project begins, it's important to talk to your contractor to find out how much is due and when.
What Can I Expect on a Daily Basis?
What time will work begin each day, and what time will the work end? How will they clean up at the end of a work day, and where will tools and materials be stored? Knowing how a contractor orders their day will help you know if their schedule is compatible with yours.
These are just a few of the questions you should discuss with your contractor before hiring them. By fostering open communication right from the start, you can ensure that the whole process is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
When it comes to contentious topics, few can beat the debate about whether or not alcohol has any place in today's workplace. There's a wide range of opinions on the subject ranging from zero tolerance for alcohol consumption on the job right through to the other end of the spectrum.
While alcohol use on the job has been a long-standing tradition among many white-collar professions like bankers, lawyers, and stock brokers, most workplaces have banned alcohol useout of concern for the safety of their employees and the public at large. Industries that involve operating machinery, transportation, or performing medical procedures are strict no-alcohol zones for obvious reasons.
Beer As A Workplace Perk?
Tech companies like Facebook, Yelp, Zillow, and Twitter have built their businesses by 'looking outside the box', and that includes their approach to how employees are treated at work.
In an effort to recruit and retain the best and brightest tech experts, these companies offer unique perks like free beer at the office as a way to encourage employees to work longer hours, socialize with their colleagues, and blur the lines between home and work.
Advocates of low-alcohol content beverages like beer in the workplace love studies that support the notion that moderate alcohol use boosts creativity, which isn't surprising, given that alcohol has long been known to reduce inhibitions. Moderate drinking has also been linked to lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes, improved cardiovascular health, and even prevention of the common cold, supporting the stance that alcohol isn't just about intoxication.
Alcohol And Addiction
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 15 million adults aged 18 and older, or 6.2 percent, suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Formerly known as alcoholism, AUD includes any use of alcohol that causes problems with health, safety, and daily living, including negative impacts on interpersonal relationships, finances, and work.
Employers are legally obliged to provide their employees with a safe workplace, and for people living with AUD, the presence of alcohol on the job could certainly be seen as an unsafe situation. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees who have been diagnosed with AUD, which puts the onus on the employer to both accommodate and protect the addicted employee.
The Takeaway? Abstinence Is The Safest Bet
So while it's entirely possible to create a workplace culture where moderate, controlled drinking is an integral part of performance, employee retention, and even client recruitment, it's important for employers to recognize the risks that come with allowing on-the-job drinking.
In today's environment, the safest bet for employers is to simply ban alcohol use at work, although with the right policies and procedures in place (including access to public transit, and a way to self-exclude from alcohol use) alcohol can have a role in your enterprise.
The Durango Chamber of Commerce
The Durango Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that promotes and supports the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and financial viability.