Secrets of Finding the Right Contractor

Step 1 - Forget about a contractor, get a designer.

Step 2 - Find 3 or more prospects.

Somebody in your world is remodeling or has remodeled lately. Ask friends, family, co-workers, sub-contractors, neighborhood projects, realtors, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Houzz, NextDoor

Step 3 - Check legals - Licensed and Bonded

 Step 4 - Meet and Greet - initial job interview


  • Are they on time? 
  • Appearance? 
  • Communication skills? 
  • Is this person not only a good tradesperson but also a good business person? 

            Review designs - a time to listen and be listened to

            Critical questions:

  •                         How big is your crew?
  •                         Liability Insurance?
  •                         Do you employees subcontractors or your own in-house people?
  •                         How personally hands-on will you be with our project?
  •                         How often will you be on site?
  •                         How often will you be communicating with us?
  •                         Will you be itemizing your estimate?
  •                         What is your fee or percentage?
  •                         In addition to your stated fee do your subcontractors give you kickbacks?
  •                         Do you mark up materials?
  •                         Can we use your discount to purchase materials directly from suppliers?
  •                         How will the jobsite be left at the end of every day?
  •                         Will you have issues taking direction from our designer?
  •                         What level of residential craftsmanship are you most accustomed too?
  •                         How do you handle change orders?

Step 5 - Ask for a “gut estimate” insuring it will neither win nor lose them the job

If the average of all gut estimates is above your budget - return to the design. If within budget - proceed to Step 6 (and proceed with other project costs: ie, engineering)

Step 6 - Check references, especially most RECENT references - ask to see the work yourself

Step 7 - When plans are complete, request formal estimates from your short list.   

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