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Though a standard question, it's important to ask. Most contractors will tell you how long they expect the job to take without you asking. If they don't volunteer that information, be sure to ask. It's also helpful to ask if that's a hard finish date, meaning that it's the definite finish date. If it's a soft finish date, it may be extended for any number of reasons.
Many jobs in Virginia will require municipal permits in order to be approved by the town's inspector. It's always good to ask who will be responsible for pulling those permits, and if you'll be expected to do it. You'll almost never be told to pull your own, but knowing that Cedar Bluff Fences permits are required makes you appear to be a well informed customer.
Always ask for references, and always check them. Keep in mind though that the only references you'll get are people who the contractor is certain will give him a good review. You'd also be well advised to check online review sources in Cedar Bluff as well, which will give you a broader view of customer satisfaction for a given company.
You'll always want to ask how long the company has been in business in Cedar Bluff. While this isn't a guarantee that the company will do good work, companies with longevity on their side must be doing something right. That being said, there are newer companies that do great work. If the company is under three years old, ask where the owner was employed before and for how long. If he/she has a long history of employment, it's reasonable to infer that he or she decided to go into business for themselves after so many years of experience.
These first two questions should only relate to services or good purchased directly from the service provider. Many products carry their own warranties, like roofing shingles or siding. It's useful to know what these warranties cover as well as how long they last. The "warranty agent" question is important, because often warranty agents work with the manufacturer to get you repairs under warranty at a much lower price.