Choosing A Contractor

Choosing A Contractor

Not sure how to pick a contractor?

We can help.

It’s no easy task to decide on a contractor. Friends and family all have their opinions; the Internet and even the phone book are overwhelming; everybody has a horror story or two to share. It’s no wonder people get nervous.

But guess what? It’s not as bad as you think it is. There are a few principles to consider when choosing a contractor, and most of them are simply common sense.


Hire somebody honest. This is good advice whether you’re a CEO, a shopkeeper, or a homeowner looking for a contractor. But how can you tell who is honest and who is not? First, trust your instincts. If somebody seems “off,” he probably is. Next, check the person or business out. Ask around, check with the Better Business Bureau, and do some detective work. Angie’s List is a great resource. Testimonials and referrals are also good ways to screen your contractor.


Hire a professional. Checking the contractor’s license is a smart step to take. Ask your potential contractor for a copy of his certification, worker’s compensation info, and liability insurance certificate (see #4).


Get everything in writing. The days of the handshake agreement are over. Even if you entirely trust your contractor, it’s wise to keep paper records of everything in case of unexpected circumstances. Schedules, estimates, a statement of the scope of work, warranties, and waivers of liens are all good to have. Make certain that if a permit is required, your contractor is able to secure one with your authorization.


Insurance is a must. If your contractor does not carry insurance, you are responsible for anything that might happen. Ensure that any sub-contractors are also covered under your contractor’s policy.


Ask to see photos of the contractor’s work. He or she should be able to produce some visual evidence of the quality of work you can expect. You would never buy a big-ticket item without knowing what it looks like; why should this be any different?