How to Find a Contractor You Trust on a Budget


Summer and home improvements go together like spackle and drywall, but it can be hard to get the ball rolling without an affordable and reliable contractor. If you’re struggling to find an honest and cost-effective builder, take a look at the list below. It holds some tips for getting the help you want for the price you need. 

Research, research, research

Taking on a reno is exciting, but don’t let your enthusiasm convince you to hire the first contractor you find. You need to spend time getting to know your options, so you can find the best one for the job and your budget. 

Simply type the words contactor in a search engine along with your city. Then look through these results and get in touch with companies that catch your eye. 

Once you speak with someone about what you want, ask to see the following information: 

  • An estimate of the cost
  • Proof of licenses and insurances
  • Examples of previous work 
  • Referrals from previous homeowners

Ask Around

Temper your online search by asking people for their recommendations. 

Not sure who to ask? Basically, if you trust their opinion, it’s worth asking. Talk to friends, family, neighbors, and even co-workers to see if they know of an affordable company. 

Don’t know anyone who’s hired a contractor? No problem!

Reach out to online groups and community boards for your city or state and ask for recommendations. You can also check Google reviews of any contractor that’s still in the running. 

Know the Difference between a Quote and an Estimate

An estimate is something a contractor gives you when you first get into contact with them. It’s a rough outline of how much they think the job will cost them. It may end up changing once they draw up the plans for real.

A quote is a binding contract that lists the prices of labor, equipment, and supplies. This cannot change unless you add or subtract jobs from the contract. 

Don’t agree to anything until you get a final quote. Otherwise, what started as an affordable project could balloon into a costly job!

Remember: Quality over Quantity

Part of finding a contractor is understanding the limits of your budget and planning only jobs you can afford.

If you attempt to do a house-wide upgrade when you don’t have the budget for it, you can end up running out of money. Or, you might be forced to cut corners that you’ll regret later on. 

It’s a better idea to cut a job in half and focus on making amazing improvements on a small area of your house.

Don’t inflate your budget with a credit card or personal line of credit, even though it may be tempting. These options are better used as safety nets when something goes off budget unexpectedly — like if you accidentally cut yourself bad enough to need stitches, or if the work reveals your ceiling joists are rotten through.

A personal line of credit or credit card can help you take on these additional repairs and expenses. If you aren’t sure which one would suit your needs, check this out to see the breakdown between a personal line of credit vs credit cards.

Take the Time to Find the Best Contractor

Finding an honest, reliable, and affordable contractor is possible. It just takes some investigative work before you hire anyone. So don’t rush into things, and keep these tips fresh in your mind. They’ll help you save money without sacrificing workmanship.