Finding the Right Contractor

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The goal of every design blog is to help you to get as much as possible from your living and working spaces. They do this by offering you simple, yet exciting, DIY projects as well as more advanced home décor and design projects (for those who have experience with construction and decorating, of course) to even exhibitions of outstanding architecture from which you might draw inspiration for your next renovation or home construction project.

Of course, while inspiration abounds online (hello Pinterest, looking at you), finding (forgive the pun) concrete information on how to find the people who will help you complete the projects you can’t do yourself is relatively scarce…until now.

If you are planning a big home renovation or remodel, you will need to hire a reliable group of contractors. Here is how to make sure you get the best team for your project.

How to Find a Contractor

As you may know, it’s not always easy to find a good contractor. Television shows like Holmes on Homes and Rescue My Renovation illustrate how hard it can be to find the right contractor, and what can happen if you select the wrong team for the job. However, just because it is difficult does not mean it’s impossible. In fact, the United States Federal Trade Commission has several guidelines that can take a lot of the guesswork out of hiring a good contractor.

1. Get referrals from reliable sources.Check with friends, neighbors, and family members who have had work done. If possible, check the quality of work and get their honest opinion of their experience with the contractor, how they feel about the finished work, and if they would hire that contractor again. If possible, find someone who has been living with the finished product for several months to a year, rather than someone who has just finished the renovations. It can take several months for people to “settle in” and discover any problems. Don’t just go with one contractor; get several referrals so that you have a range of contractors to choose from.

2. Do your research. Once you have gathered your referrals, you then need to research the contractors. Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints and see if they have any negative reviews or ratings from sites like Angie’s List or Yelp.

3. Interview the contractor. Ask each contractor how much experience he has with your type of design, remodel, or rebuild. Find out the contractor licensing requirements in your area, and make sure the contractor’s license is current. Also, make sure your contractor has insurance from a reliable provider like, and that all his paperwork is current. You may not feel like this is something to worry about on your end but, while it should not be, it is. Doing your do diligence on a contractors credentials can save years of headache.

4. Get a list of references.These need to be the names, addresses, and phone numbers of clients who have had the same type of design, renovation, or rebuild as the one you are planning. You must contact these references, and even go there and inspect the work. You want to do this because, while that contractor could be great at bathroom remodels, he might not be as good at building the addition that will house the new bathroom.

Things to Avoid

All of the following could be signs of a possible scam:

· Contractors who show up at your door offering repairs and other work. Even if you need the work, it’s better to follow the steps above to find a reputable contractor;

· Contractors who use high-pressure tactics to get you to use their services;

· Contractors who promise that your remodel or repair is covered by your homeowner’s insurance;

· Contractors who only accept cash, ask you to pay up-front for all or most of costs, or who suggests you get financing through him;

· Contractors who have no references;

· Contractors who are not listed in the local business phone directory.