How to Choose the Best Contractor for Home Improvement

It is not an easy task to find a good contractor. The low level of standards and controls on the market allows almost everybody to be in this business.


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    Educate Yourself. It’s important to educate yourself about the work you want to have completed prior to meeting with contractors. This way, you’ll have a deeper understanding of renovation lingo, you’ll be able to provide the contractor with enough information to prepare an estimate that meets your goals, be able to interpret any estimates that you receive, and to figure out whether the contractor is overpricing their work.
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    Check Contractor References and Past Experience. To select the best of the best, you will need to check company’s procedures, specifications, references and the way they communicate with you. If the construction company or contractor does not know how to communicate well with you (even when the others have no problems), then the possibility for misunderstandings in the project increases, and that means higher costs and less satisfaction.
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    Consider hiring a 'Green' company. Today, houses are cheaper to heat and cool and more comfortable than it was a case a few decades ago. If you want to regain the money you've invested in refurbishing or building a house, consider connecting with a green company that understands your needs and has the knowledge how to manage your task.
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    Read contractor reviews. Look for contractors affiliated with the Better Business Bureau, National Association of the Remodelling Industry (NARI), National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or any other local building or remodelling association. Look at each Contractors website to see what type of work they perform, any examples of already completed work and their qualifications.
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    Make a List of questions that the Contractor must answer. When you look at the specifications of potential contractors, make a list of questions, which you want to be answered. Those, who respond to your e-mail or call you, should have an advantage over the others. Nevertheless, consider whether your questions were answered clearly. This is particularly important for issues that you are not clear about or you did not understand. Here are some questions you need to ask each contractor: Did the Contractor omit a portion of the scope of work? If so, have them revise the estimate. Are they using lesser quality materials (paint, cabinets, tile, etc.)? How long will it take to complete the work? Are they insured with a General Liability policy? Can they provide a minimum of 5 to 10 references from previous projects? Are permits necessary and if so, is the cost included in the estimate? Is the Contractor willing to let you visit several of their jobs? What type of Warranty does the Contractor provide? If they do not understand what you are talking about, ask more questions. Good builders are the ones who know how to solve a problem. However, those who insist on answering your questions and want to explain you every little detail are the best.
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    Show the Contractor what you want completed. During your meetings, hand over your information that you compiled and walk the job with each of them. Be prepared to answer numerous questions. Some will be easy to answer and others may need some additional research on your part. Either way, try to stick with your initial scope of work and do not deviate because it will only make it more difficult for you to interpret the figures on each bid. Ask each Contractor how long it will take them to prepare the estimate and make sure they honour those dates. If they don't, that should be a red flag.
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    The cheapest offers are often the most expensive. Price should not be the deciding factor when choosing contractors. People often choose the lowest bid and ultimately discover that the contractor has not done the job properly. High quality papers require a certain price. It may cost you more, but the job will be done smoothly and within the standards of eligibility.Cheaper can offer more chop at the end, because you'll eventually change the order, to correct errors or the contractor to cancel the job. If you ask for three bids for your project, you'll get three different prices. If a contractor is 15 percent more expensive than another, ask him why. Maybe it includes more items in his offer. If it is cheaper by 15 percent, maybe he forgot to include something very important to you. Remember, you have the right to ask a contractor what you want and they must know how to explain the offer.


  • The payment schedule (aka Schedule of Values) should be spelled out in the Contract. After a specific portion of work is completed, the Contract will say how much money the Contractor can Invoice you for that work. If you give the Contractor their last payment before 100% completion of work, you could have issues with them completing the balance of work in a timely manner.
  • Never give a Contractor more than 50% of the contract amount up front.
  • If the Contractor has to purchase a large amount of materials prior to starting work, a payment or draw for the materials is understandable.
  • Once you've chosen the best contractor for the job, remember to review the work completed after each work day to make sure they are on track


  • The worst time to remodel is during the spring in summer when contractors are at their highest demand due to the warm weather, which means higher prices

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Categories: Contracts and Legal Agreements | Home Improvements and Repairs