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Published Jan 14, 23
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Matching services often have a wealth of information about contractors on their service, including criminal background checks, license verification, client reviews, and photos. Word-of-mouth recommendations from a trusted source is an excellent way to find a good contractor. Begin with family, friends, or neighbors who have used a contractor recently for advice about the contractor that they hired.

If there is a record, negative matters are not extensive or of a troubling nature, and all matters have been closed out. Checking online, do you see that a contractor is involved in an unusually large number of lawsuits? Because of the nature of their business, contractors often are the subject of lawsuits.

Outstanding demands on a contractor's bond will usually be available on state and local licensing sites. At your meetings, the contractor should be attentive and listen when you describe your goals. The meeting is a dialogue, with each side freely and equally trading ideas. The contractor does not have to agree with everything you say; in fact, one value of hiring a contractor is that you are paying for their experience.

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Online contractor-matching services usually have a background screening service that contractors must pass in order to be accepted into the system. If the contractor is part of the matching service and in good standing, you can be assured that the contractor has passed that minimum level of screening. Contractors often are busy people, juggling many balls at the same time.

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However, if the contractor is habitually late to preliminary appointments or does not return phone calls, you can be certain that the contractor will continue the same habits after you have hired that person. Contractors who bad-mouth clients, vendors, subcontractors, or employees, especially during your early conversations, should be avoided.

So if you have a contractor who wants to proceed without written agreements between the both of you, this is a major red flag. Other than early introductory meetings, your relationship should be one that is defined by a contract signed by both of you. In fact, during the process of building, all variations to the contract should be in the form of change orders.

Such door-to-door contractors may say that they have leftover materials that they are willing to use on your property. You should always seek out the contractor and not the other way around. Most contractors will not ask you for full payment before starting the project, and instead should ask for an initial payment and identified progress payments throughout the process.

Tom Silva, This Old House general contractor, shares how homeowners should evaluate a potential contractor before hiring him or her to work on a house. Here are his top 8 pro tips to help you find a contractor from start to finish. Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area.

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Once you've assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and go through these questions to ask a contractor: Do they take on projects of your size? Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks? Can they give you a list of previous clients? How many other projects would they have going at the same time? How long have they worked with their subcontractors? The answers to these questions will reveal the company's availability, reliability, how much attention they'll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.

A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Tom says that it's crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don't let personality fool you.

Now that you've narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But Tom says you shouldn't rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works.

Now it's time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses.

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Another important tip for hiring a contractor is to workout a payment schedule ahead of time. Payment schedules can speak to a contractor's financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won't pay the rest after you've seen the work.

It's about insuring a successful renovation. Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? "While you're at it...." Looking for more help with repairs around your home? A home warranty may help.

Wondering how to find a contractor (who doesn’t suck)? You’re not alone. Of the two remaining, one contractor said he didn’t know how to do the job. The other said he would call back with an estimate in 24 hours. Another local contractor only handles whole home renovations. A week went by—and now his phone is disconnected.

For anyone who’s ever tried to hire a contractor or handyman for their home or business, this scenario probably sounds all too familiar. To begin, contractors are not generally not good business owners. Just because someone can bake doesn’t mean they can run a bakery. The same thing can be said about contractors.