Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Contractor


If you have a home remodel project on the burner, one of the first steps you need to take is selecting a contractor. The reality is that many people make significant mistakes when it comes to hiring a contractor.

Failure to Get Recommendations

One of the most commonplace mistakes a person seeking a contractor for a home remodel project makes is the failure to get recommendations. The reality is that you likely have family members, friends, and colleagues who have been involved in a home remodel with a contractor.

Even in this digital age, word of mouth is invaluable when it comes to obtaining services from professionals like contractors. People in your life can provide you with invaluable information about contractors.

Failure to Get References

On a related note, another mistake people make when seeking a contractor for a home remodel project is the failure to obtain references from prospective contractors. As you narrow down your list of potential contractors for your home remodel project, ask for references.

References can some from two sources. These include prior clients. In addition, references from colleagues that include subcontractors and vendors can also be helpful.

Keep in mind that time and again people collect the names of references and yet make another mistake. They fail to actually reach out to these references and obtain information about a contractor. Once you collect the names of a contractor’s references, you need to contact them and ask questions.

Failure to Meet Face to Face

In this day and age, a great deal of business is contracted online. While the internet can be invaluable when seeking a contractor for a project at your residence, don’t make another common mistake.

Many people fail to schedule a face to face meeting with a potential contractor. This represents a significant mistake.

The reality is that you can garner a great deal of information when you meet with a professional like a contractor in person. You have the ability to make a direct assessment of a contractor. Moreover, you have the opportunity to discuss your project in greater detail with a contractor.

Failure to Check on Insurance and Bonding

Yet another error made when hiring a contractor is the failure to verify that proper insurance is in place and that the contractor is suitably bonded. Of course, you certainly hope that nothing goes awry with your home remodel project. Nonetheless, if something does go off the rails in one way or another, you want to make sure that a contractor is properly insured and bonded.

Getting Only One Bid

Contractors will be interested in getting your project. Thus, you do not need to settle for the bid made by the first contractor you connect with when seeking assistance.

A significant mistake people make is to only get one bid when planning a home remodel. Get multiple bids and make the whole situation competitive. Let those who bid know what the competition is doing. By taking this course, you will be able to get the most reasonable bid for your project, from a reputable contractor.

Failure to Question a Contractor’s Own Due Diligence

Keep in mind that a contractor will likely need to utilize subcontractors, depending on the nature of your home remodel project. A contractor also has a team of employees.

A mistake to avoid is failing to question a contractor about the due diligence performed in regard to employees and subcontractors. Find out precisely what a contractor does in the way screening its own team.

Failure to Get It in Writing

Finally, a mistake that is made with alarming frequency is the failure to get a contract in writing with a contractor about a project. You must get the agreement you have with a contractor set forth with specificity in writing. Handshakes simply aren’t sufficient when it comes to engaging the professional services of a contractor for a home remodel project.

A contractor may provide you with some standard form agreement. In some cases, that may suffice. Nonetheless, you must read the proposed contract in detail. If you have questions about it, and if the project is particularly extensive, you may even want to consult with your lawyer and have the contract reviewed.

In the final analysis, by making sure you avoid these common mistakes associated with hiring a contractor, you will best ensure that you engage a competent, reputable professional. You will best protect your important interests by making certain you avoid making the mistakes that many people in your position fall prey to when seeking contractors.


Jessica Kane writes for Advance Online, a leading provider of web-based OSHA. DOT. and HAZWOPER training.