What To Look For When Choosing a Contractor

First Step: Budget

Decide what your budget is ‐ this will help a contractor determine what is feasible and what is not.

Then comes the fun part: deciding what you want. Home and decorating magazines, web sites, and home improvement stores are good resources.

Keep a file folder with pictures of what you like. The clearer your ideas going into the project, the easier the planning will be.

It is important that you select a contractor who understands your needs, and works with you to keep the project within your budget. A contractor should provide several choices when selecting materials, products and services, and help you decide on an affordable option.

A contractor should provide several choices when selecting materials, products and services, and help you decide on an affordable option.

Getting an Estimate from a Contractor

Estimates should be given to you in writing and include these essentials:

  • The work to be done in detail
  • The specific materials to be used
  • A time frame for the work to be completed
  • A firm price
  • The company’s guarantee on the work

Ask the same questions of each contractor you get an estimate from so any comparisons are fair, and when you’ve narrowed it down to one or two, check their references thoroughly. Estimates should be free; avoid a contractor who wants to charge you.

Things to Watch Out For

Don’t hire the contractor if he/she:

  • Requires cash
  • Doesn’t have or can’t provide proof of insurance and applicable licensing
  • Requires you to get the necessary permits

Questions to Ask a Contractor

Here are some things you’ll want to ask a prospective contractor:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • May I visit a site you’re currently working on?
  • How early will work start in the mornings, and what time will workers leave each day?
  • Who will be the contact person if I hire this company?
  • What kind of payment schedule will you expect?
  • What kind of insurance does the company carry?