19 Tips for Finding a Contractor You Can Trust

19 Tips for Finding a Contractor You Can Trust

Construction zone sign for a contractor that you trust.
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Hiring a trustworthy contractor can make the difference between a dreamy remodel and a home-improvement horror story. Follow these expert tips to find a contractor you can truly count on.


  1. Ask for local references, and then actually call those homeowners to find out what it was like to work with this contractor.


  1. Ask how many years a contractor has been in business, and how long they’ve been doing this particular kind of project.


  1. Check your state or local licensing agencies to see whether your contractor is properly licensed.


  1. Search the reviews at your local Better Business Bureau to see whether any customers have filed complaints against this contractor, and how they were resolved.


  1. Ask questions. A good contractor should be willing to spend a little time explaining procedures and answering your questions.


  1. Get at least three bids. Even if you’re happy with the first bid you receive, ask around until you get two more. You may be surprised at what you learn.


  1. If someone has worked on different part of your home in the past, and you’re happy with the result, ask them to refer you to someone who can handle your new project.


  1. Think twice before working with a contractor who is new to the business and lacks references and a track record of success.


  1. Protect yourself against a possible accident. Ask your contractor for proof that they carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance.


  1. Research any complaints against a contractor at your state consumer protection offices (https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer).


  1. Ask friends, family and neighbors if they can recommend a contractor they have used in the past.


  1. Trust your instincts. If you have a bad feeling about a contractor, even if you can’t put your finger on why, don’t hire them.


  1. Call the suppliers your contractor works with. Ask them if they can tell you anything about this contractor’s reputation.


  1. Ask the contractor to show you evidence that they are bonded, meaning that you have financial protection if the contractor doesn’t finish or do the job right.


  1. Don’t give in to pressure. If a contractor tries to push you into making a decision before you’re ready, look elsewhere.


  1. Don’t make your decision based on price alone. The contractor with the lowest bid may intend to use cheaper materials or less-skilled labor.


  1. The highest price isn’t a guarantee of quality work, either. Be sure to weigh all of the factors before making a decision.


  1. Make sure to get everything in writing. Verbal agreements are difficult to enforce.


  1. Before signing anything, read the fine print. If anything seems unclear, ask before you sign.