12 Keys to Finding a Contractor You Can Trust

Any type of work you need done on your home will cost money. Remodeling, for example, averages at a couple of dollars below $40,000. And sure, you might not need that much work done, but even less extensive work can set you back a four-figure sum. And because it’s your home, you want to make sure that the quality of workmanship doesn’t suffer — you don’t want shoddy work in the place where you live.

Finding a trustworthy contractor is a challenging task. There are plenty of people offering services. The construction industry in the United States employs some six million people, any of whom could be the person you hire to work on your house. But how do you know you can trust the person you hire? Well, here are some tips that will help you determine.

  1. Be Clear on What You Want

Before you even start looking for a contractor, make sure you understand why you are calling them. This might not be a big issue if you need someone to do some minor work. But as the work gets bigger, it becomes more important that you have a very clear understanding of your needs.

  1. Ask People You Trust

If someone you know had any dealings with contractors recently, ask them for references. People around you are a great starting point for finding a good contractor.

  1. Look Online

If your family members, friends, or colleagues come up short, you can always look online. You’ll be able to find contractor reviews, although it’s debatable how much you can trust them. However, you can also find contractor websites that offer upfront pricing, which is a trust signal.

  1. Talk to Multiple Contractors

You will want to pick at least three different contractors to start talking with about your project. You want to be picky, remember, and you want to create a pool you’ll be able to choose from.

  1. Ask for References

It’s important that the contractors you’re considering can produce references. Most will be able to do it, so the ones that can’t stick out like a sore thumb, and they are the ones you shouldn’t hire.

  1. Follow Up on the References

You’re not asking for references just to see whether they can produce them. Do the work — call the people or businesses that serve as a reference. Ask them a couple of important questions, including pricing, quality of work, and how well the contractors communicated with them.

  1. Check the Contractors’ Licenses

Contractors should hold valid licenses from local, county, or state licensing bodies. In some cases, they should also provide you with the results of inspections of their past work, if they are not included in the license.

  1. Lien Waiver

To protect yourself and your property, you should require your contractors to sign a lien waiver, or release of liens. This document will prevent you from having to pay subcontractors from your own pocket if the contractor doesn’t honor the agreement with them.

  1. Check Their Availability

You should expect to wait for a good contractor if you’re doing a big project. Good contractors are always in demand, and their availability might tell you something about the quality of their work.

  1. Agree on a Budget

Going for a cheaper option is fine, but you should always aim for quality. Choose the contractor that seems like he would be the best person for the job, not the cheapest one.

  1. Set Up Milestones

Pay for the work that’s done and pay in milestones. Your contractor should work with you to figure out the payment schedule.

  1. Listen to Your Guts

You should never disregard what your guts is telling you. If you have a perfect contractor but you feel that something isn’t quite right with them, look for another contractor. People sense more than they are aware off. Your gut feeling is just you telling yourself that you’ve missed something important.