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Tips to Hire the Right Contractor

4 minute read

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Hiring the right contractor for your home repair or improvement project can be a daunting task, but it's a crucial step to ensure that the work is done properly, within budget, and on time. The difference between a successful project and a problematic one often boils down to the choice of contractor. Here are essential tips to help you hire the right contractor for your project, ensuring a smoother, more pleasant experience and quality results.

Check Their Past Work

Start by gathering a list of potential contractors. Prioritize those with whom you or your acquaintances have had positive experiences. Utilize referrals from trusted sources like friends, family, or a realtor. Further, the online footprint of a contractor, including reviews and testimonials, provides insight into their reputation and work quality.

Evaluate Professionalism and Chemistry

Meeting potential contractors in person can reveal a lot about their professionalism and how well they communicate. Look for courtesy, punctuality, and the contractor's ability to clearly discuss project details. Chemistry matters; if you don't feel comfortable with them, it's wise to continue your search.

Assess Reputability and Expertise

Investigate the contractor's business longevity, stability, and physical office presence. A contractor with a long-standing, reputable business and a physical office is generally more reliable. Ask for references and specifically look for experience in the type of work you need.

Get Multiple Estimates

Obtain estimates from several contractors to compare costs. However, don't make your decision based solely on price. Evaluate the scope of work outlined in each bid, ensuring it matches your project needs and includes necessary preparation and cleanup.

Understand the Scope of Work

The scope of work should detail everything the contractor will do for your project, including allowances, assumptions, and exclusions. It's essential to discuss these details to avoid surprises or additional costs later on.

Check Licensing, Insurance, and Bonding

Confirm the contractor's license, insurance status, and whether they are bonded. Hiring a contractor without the proper credentials can leave you liable for accidents or damages. A bonded contractor provides an additional layer of protection, ensuring the project's completion.

Discuss Payment Options

Be cautious of contractors demanding full payment upfront. A reasonable approach is to pay a portion upfront for materials, with the remainder upon project completion. Always ask for detailed invoices and avoid cash payments without proper documentation.

Take Your Time

Don't rush your decision. Take the time to thoroughly vet potential contractors, comparing their bids, reputations, and your interactions with them. Preselecting contractors for emergency repairs can also save you from making hasty decisions in the future.

Important Questions to Ask a Potential Contractor:

  • Project Cost and Inclusions:
    • How much will you charge for the job?
    • What will that price include?
    • What will that price exclude?
  • Assumptions and Details:
    • What assumptions are made in your bid?
    • Can you detail the scope of work you'll be performing?
    • Are there any potential extras that might lead to change orders?
  • Project Duration and Scheduling:
    • How long will the project take?
    • Will you guarantee the timeline in writing?
  • Written Agreements:
    • Will you put every agreement and verbal commitment in writing?
  • Payment Terms:
    • How much of the payment do you require upfront, and why?
    • How will the remainder of the payment be handled?
  • Licensing and Certification:
    • Are you licensed, and can you provide your license number?
    • Are you insured and bonded?
    • Can you show me your certificates of insurance (COI)?


Before beginning your search for the perfect contractor, prepare a comprehensive checklist based on your project's specific needs and the tips provided. This checklist will serve as a valuable guide throughout the selection process, ensuring you don't overlook critical details.





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