Choosing the Right Contractor

Choosing the right contractor is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make, so it's worthwhile to prepare yourself properly. After all, it could make all the difference between having a wonderful and fulfilling experience or one that's a total nightmare!

  1. Check references: when checking references, be sure to ask questions about:
    1. The nature of the project
      1. What kind of work did they have done?
      2. How long did it take to complete?
    2. Their relationship with the contractor
      1. Had they ever worked with this contractor before?
      2. How did they come to know about them?
    3. Cleanliness and tidiness
      1. Did the contractor show up to work on time?
      2. Was the project completed on schedule?
      3. Did they clean up after themselves properly?
    4. Ask if you can take a look at the work done by the contractor
  2. Verify insurance and licensing: ask your contractor to provide proof of insurance coverage (including workers' compensation), automobile insurance, and general liability coverage for at least 1 million dollars.
  3. Check the contractor's record: contact your local State Attorney's office and the Better Business Bureau to find out if your proposed contractor has any outstanding unresolved complaints against them. If they do, reconsider your choice!
  4. Find out about any professional memberships or affiliations: a reputable contractor will generally belong to any number of professional associations related to their trade, such as trade unions, trade associations, etc. Being a part of such associations demonstrates an interest in their professional community and usually requires a pledge to abide by a code of ethics. RESNET members, for example, are all required to abide by the RESNET Code of Ethics.
  5. Remember, it's not all about getting a low price! Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so if you're presented with a quote that is significantly lower than the others, find out why. Ask detailed questions as to how they can quote such a low price, such as:
    • Are their employees legally hired?
    • Are their workers properly insured?
    • How is the quality of materials and workmanship?
    • Are they reputable? How long have they been in business for?