1. Obtain recommendations

Get a list of members in your area from the National Association of the Remodelling Industry and then ask your friends and family. This Old House general contractor Tom Silva recommends speaking with a building inspector, who will know which contractors are able to meet code requirements regularly. You can also visit a lumberyard, which sees contractors on a regular basis and knows which ones purchase quality materials and pay their bills on time.

2. Interview over the phone

As soon as you’ve compiled a list, Tom recommends contacting each prospect and asking the following questions:

  • Is your project a good fit for them?
  • Would they be willing to provide financial references from their suppliers or banks?
  • Would they be able to provide you with a list of their previous clients?
  • Could they have multiple projects going at once?
  • Their subcontractors have worked with them for how long?

Answering these questions will give you a sense of whether the company is reliable, available, and capable of giving your project the attention it deserves.

3. Meet in person

Select three or four contractors for further discussion and estimates based on the phone interviews. If you have questions, the contractor should be able to answer them satisfactorily and in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Since this person will be in your home for hours at a time, Tom says it’s crucial that you communicate well with each other. Conversely, don’t be fooled by personality.Make sure the contractor does not have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors by contacting your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau.

4. Fact-finding

Put your research to work now that you’ve narrowed your list. Contact previous clients and ask about their projects. However, Tom warns against relying solely on results. A renovationstelcore.com is a good contractor.Is the job good and safe. Is the property of the homeowner being handled with care and respect by workers?

5. Get bids, make plans

Your short list includes contractors whose track records appear clean and whose work ethic appears responsible. Start looking forward to your project instead of looking back at past work. Conscientious contractors will ask homeowners for not only a complete set of blueprints, but also for a sense of what they expect from the project. When comparing bids, ask each party to break down the cost of materials, labour, profit margin and other expenses. Overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent, account for the remaining 40 percent of the total cost.

6. Plan your payments

Working out a payment schedule ahead of time is another important tip when hiring a contractor. Work ethic and financial status can be determined by a contractor’s payment schedule. They may have financial problems or worry that you won’t pay the rest after you see the work if they want half in advance. Most large projects begin with a 10-percent payment at contract signing, followed by three 25-percent payments evenly spaced over the course of the project, and a final 15-percent payment after the punch list has been completed.


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