Guidelines for Finding a Contractor

When selecting a contractor, please use caution.

Clearly, our home is your most valuable financial asset and you will want someone who completes the job, not botch it up. It is more important that you find a competent and reliable contractor who will complete your project successfully than it is to worry about the cheapest option.

And we’ve been saying it for generations: “it’s hard to find good help these days”. A client of mine who is an architect recently pointed out that there are too many variables that make or break a positive experience. Case in point, I had wonderful luck with a local plumber for a few years and then their customer service just fell apart, and I moved on.

As such, I recommend taking the time to contact several contractors and making a decision based on good old fashioned instinct.

For me, the impression I get from the initial contact, timeliness to appointments, presentation of competence and flexibility to work with my needs trump just about everything else.

That said, here are some steps you can take to finding the right person to hire.

  • Avoid just searching online and going with the first one you come across. Check with local friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations. Feel free to ask me for a list of someone with a great reputation amongst the local real estate community. Or look on Yelp or Angie’s List and read reviews from local customers.
  • Contact local trade organizations, such as the local Builder Association or Remodelers Council, for the names of members in your area.
  • Deal only with licensed contractors. The state licensing board and local Better Business Bureau also can tell you if there are any outstanding complaints against the license holder.
  • Interview each contractor, request free estimates and ask for and contact recent references. Make sure bids are based on similar project specifications. Do not automatically settle for the lowest bid.
  • Ask for proof of workers’ compensation insurance and obtain policy and insurance company phone numbers so you can verify the information. If the contractor is not covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury that takes place during the project. Also check to make sure the contractor has an umbrella general liability policy.

It’s worth noting that local contractors are so busy these days that you should expect a delay between agreeing to the work and when it will be completed. In my business, we need things done yesterday but I have come to accept that getting an appointment “next week” is about as good as it gets in most cases.

I suggest approaching this process with a lot of patience and focus on doing your due diligence.

If you are in need of a referral to a local professional with a good reputation, contact me at or 206.399.3641.