How to Choose the Right Contractor

RESNET EnergySmart Contractor

Hiring the right contractor can mean the difference between a great experience and a pile of headaches. Follow these tips to increase your chances of having a great experience.

Check References

You've surely heard this advice before, but it's worth repeating. Check your contrator's references!

When you do...
  • Ask detailed questions about the nature of the project.
    • What work did they have done?
    • How long did it take to complete?
  • Ask about their relationship with the contractor.
    • Was this their first time working with this contractor?
    • How did they hear about this contractor?
  • Ask about the contractor's cleanliness and timeliness.
    • Did they clean up after themselves?
    • Did they complete the project on time?
    • Did they show up to work on time?
  • Ask if you can come inspect their work

Verify Insurance and Licensing

Ask the contractor for proof of insurance coverage including Worker's Compensation, automobile insurance, and general liability for at least $1 million.

  • Call the insurance company to verify that the policy is active.

Check with BBB and State Attorney's Office

Check the contractor's record with the Better Business Bureau and your State Attorney's Office. A contractor with several unresolved complaints may not be a wise choice.

Ask about Memberships in Professional Associations

Generally, it is the more reputable contractors who join trade associations, trade unions and other professional associations. Membership in these groups demonstrates an interest in their professional community, and often requires a pledge to abide by an industry code of ethics. All contractors and builders listed in the RESNET directory have committed to abide by the RESNET Contractor/Builder Code of Ethics.

Do Not Rely on Price Alone

While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest bid, you should know why it is significantly less than the competition's price:

  • Are their employees hired legally?
  • Are they properly insured?
  • Are they providing the same quality of materials and workmaship? Make sure you're comparing "apples to apples".
  • Are they a reputable company? How long have they been in business?

Ask for explicit reasons why their price is significantly lower than their competition's price. Compare written estimates side by side to understand exactly where the difference is coming from.

Good luck with your project!