How to Choose a Contractor

The success of your project depends largely on hiring the right professional for the job, along with getting the right materials and coming up with a solid plan. Today, you find so many contractors who claim to be the best at what they do. Unfortunately, only a handful can rise to the challenge and here is how to sniff them out.

Generate a general list

Assemble a general list of contractors or companies among which you will find the ideal crew for your project. Get recommendations from friends, family and colleagues for contractors they have used in the past. Check online with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for reputable contractors in your area. Contact your local supply store; find out which contractors buy the best materials and pay on time.

Narrow down the list through phone interviews

As you assemble your list you have probably noticed some contractor names are mentioned more than others. You can short list the most popular recommendations and conduct a couple of phone interviews to narrow the list even further. Remember to ask important questions like the size of projects they normally take on, whether they have financial references, a reference list of past clients that you can contact, other ongoing projects and if they use subcontractors to deliver their services. Through these questions, you can find out if the company is available, reliable and well equipped to handle your project.


Start calling clients from the reference list and find out their experience working with the contractor. You should request to see the finished work. Visiting a current worksite can also give you a good idea of how the contractor works.

Get Bids

Once you have shortened your list to three or four contractors who have great records of accomplished and responsible work, you can start looking forward to your project. Request bids from these contractors – remember to ask them to itemize their bids, which should include the cost of demolition, hauling trash, framing and finish carpentry, electrical work, HVAC, plumbing, lighting fixtures, floor installations, etc.. These expenses should amount to about 40% of the total cost of service. Once you have settled on the company to use, meet the supervisor and discuss project’s timeline.

Careful planning and selection of the right contractor will pay off in the long run. When you and the contractor can work together, the project will have a lot less headaches.