Finding the right contractor is a lot like finding the right partner. You want to hire someone who is knowledgeable, skilled, and honest — and it can be difficult to tell if a contractor is a right fit for the job until after you’ve hired them.
So how do you find that perfect match? We’ve got 12 tips to ensure you hire the right contractor for your home project so your project goes smoothly!
1. Do your research.
The first step in hiring the right contractor is to do your research. You don’t want to hire just anyone!! Compare your top choices by checking out their website, past work, and reputation in the community.
Friends and family can be a good resource for referrals, but the best thing you can do is research the industry and become an informed consumer. The more you know about what you want, how much it costs, and what’s involved, the better equipped you’ll be to hire a contractor who can bring your project to life.
2. Check out the contractors past projects
A portfolio is a great way to check out the contractor’s past work and evaluate their skills. A portfolio should include pictures of completed jobs, along with details about the project, such as the materials used and any challenges faced by the contractor during construction.
You’ll also want to make sure that the person taking care of your project has experience in home improvement projects similar to what you want done. This will help you get an idea of how they work, how long projects take them, and what kind of finishes they use.
It can also give you an idea of what kind of person your contractor is too. Are they organized? Do they communicate well? How much experience do they have?
These are all crucial details when hiring a contractor.
3. Check out past client reviews.
Ask for references or check out past client reviews online. Most contractors will be happy to provide you with a list of previous clients that you can reach out to and ask about their experience.
Google Business Profile, Angie’s List, Yelp, BBB and Houzz are all places you can look for reviews and ratings online. Read reviews carefully and look for patterns of poor behavior or communication problems that could indicate substandard workmanship or poor customer service skills.
Be advised – some reviews may not be 100 percent accurate (some only submit fake reviews), but these platforms are still a great place to start looking for feedback from previous clients.
4. Ask the right questions.
Make sure you’re asking all the right questions! This can be the difference when hiring the right contractor.
Here are the top questions you should be asking your contractor before hiring:
- Will they obtain permits and schedule inspections? A contractor who doesn’t follow the law is much more likely to cut corners or short-change your project.
- Do they work with a dedicated team of contractors and subcontractors? You want everyone involved to be vetted by your potential contractor (and vice versa).
- What precautions will they take to protect the property? You want to ensure the rest of your home is protected and limit disruptions to your life as minimally as possible.
- Who will be the point of contact during the process? You want to make sure there is a person available to communicate with throughout the entire project.
5. Don’t let price be your guide.
As you shop for the right contractor, don’t let price be the only determining factor. Sure, you want to get a good deal on your project—but there are other crucial factors you should consider.
For example, hiring someone with a good reputation may cost more than hiring someone without experience. However, in the long run, a higher-priced contractor can save you money by performing better work and making fewer mistakes that require costly repairs later down the road (or even worse, re-doing work).
The same goes for project quality and how long it will last: If one contractor offers lower prices, but their products don’t last as long, then over time, you’ll end up spending more money to replace fixtures and materials.
6. Confirm they are licensed and insured.
Confirm that your contractor is licensed and insured! You can check their licensing with the local building department or state licensing board. These are usually easy to find on their website or online.
Once you’ve confirmed they are licensed, double-check that your contractor has insurance coverage. This will protect both of you from any accidents that might happen during renovation work (like if your new bathroom’s construction causes broken tiles or flooding in other rooms).
7. Get an estimate in writing.
When hiring the right contractor, make sure to get an estimate in writing. A written estimate is always a good idea, but it’s even more important when you’re getting quotes from multiple contractors.
The contractor should explain how they plan to complete the job, including any materials that need to be purchased and any other costs involved. If you want materials or services that aren’t included in the estimate, ask for another quote before you hire the contractor.
8. Find out when they can start and timelines.
Find out their timeline and how long it will take to complete the project. The longer you plan on being without a kitchen, the more important this question becomes. Because of many outside factors that can affect a project’s progress, it’s wise to discuss this with your contractor at the beginning of your business relationship.
You’ll also want to find out what their payment policies are and what kinds of materials they use. If you’re looking for a contractor who uses top-of-the-line products and materials, ask these questions before hiring them.
9. They should have good communication.
A contractor who isn’t good at communicating can cost you a lot of money. You need to be able to get in touch with them, and they need to be able to answer your questions in a timely manner. If you have any worries about the project or if something doesn’t seem right, you should be able to talk about it with your contractor.
If they can’t explain their plans or costs well enough for you to understand them, they may not be the best choice for your job.
10. You should ‘click’ with them.
You should “click” with your contractor, and they should “click” with you. If you don’t feel comfortable or at ease during the interview process, then don’t hire them. They may be a good contractor—they may even be a great one!—but if they’re not someone who can make you feel confident in their abilities and expertise, then it’s best to go with another contractor instead.
11. Know the scope of your project.
When you’re hiring a contractor, it’s a good idea to know what you want to do before the project begins. Understanding the scope of your project ensures that both parties are on the same page and allows for no surprises down the road. If there are unanswered questions, don’t be afraid to ask them! Your contractor should be able to help guide you in making decisions about what goes where and when.
If you don’t know what you want to do, then it’s up to your contractor to help educate you on all possible options. They should be able to recommend which upgrades will look best with your existing design and space of your home as well as how each upgrade might affect resale value later down the road.
12. Ask about their vendors or partners
When finding the right contractor, ask about their subcontractors and suppliers. Do they have good relationships with their vendors? How long have those relationships been in place? If you’re looking at a particularly large project, consider asking to see a copy of these vendor agreements.
Learning about their partners is an opportunity to discover more about the company’s management team. A reputable contractor will be proud to tell you who’s on their team and why they’re so good at what they do.
Use this list when hiring a contractor for your next project!
Finding the right contractor can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Remember, a good contractor will save you time, money, and headaches – so it’s worth it to put in the extra effort to do the research before hiring.
We hope this list gives you clarity on the major things to consider when hiring the right contractor!
Ready to Discuss a Project?
If you’re typing into Google, “How to find the right contractor near me,” then you’re probably looking to start a project – and we would love to help you!
As a top luxury contractor in Central Massachusetts, the team at Bonsai Builders are ready to bring your vision to life in the most beautiful way possible.
Schedule a FREE consultation by submitting the form below – We’d love to discuss your project and bring your dream space to life!