How to Hire a Home Improvement Contractor – The Contractor’s View

Things You Will Need:

Custom Design and Remodeling, Master Bathroom, Corner Shower, Corner Tub, Corner Window, Heated Floors, Pendant Lighting, Granite Counter Top, Custom Tile Design, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Maryland, Washington DC

Master Bathroom

First of all, do your homework and be prepared. Collect pictures from magazines etc. Write down what you would like to have the contractor accomplish. Be as specific as possible.

Get your family together (as appropriate) and discuss how much money you are willing to invest in your remodeling project. Make a list of priorities for the project and share both with the contractor.

Custom Design and Remodeling, Finished basement with Home Theater, Wet Bar, Pool Table, Play Room, Lighting, Foyer, Hidden Speakers, Ceiling Design, Interior Design, Bold Colors, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Washington DC,

Home Theater and Bar

Ask your friends and neighbors who they would recommend. BBB is of little value, many good contractors are not members of BBB. Check the company website and industry affiliations. Being a member of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) is a plus, but again, many good contractors are not members of NARI.  Don’t use the various online contractor referral services. They charge contractors for every name of a potential customer while providing very little value.

Custom Kitchen Design and Remodeling, foyer, lighting, granite counter top, gourmet cooking, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Washington DC, lighting, interior design

Gourmet Kitchen

Talk to 2-3 companies referred to you. How do you feel about them? Do you connect or are you comfortable with some of them, is there good chemistry? If the company going to spend a few months in your home, good fit may be more important than a few hundred $$.

A good contractor will have a well written contract with all details spelled out, including start and finish date, payment schedule etc. Read it carefully and do not hesitate to ask questions.

Custom Kitchen Design and Remodeling, foyer, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Washington DC, lighting, corner window, track light, granite counter, gourmet cooking

Kitchen Design and Remodeling

References don’t have much value because nobody gives bad ones. Call the references of the contractor you decided to work with if you wish. Ovoid casual calls to the references of the contractors you are not planning to hire. Remember, their references are regular people, just like you and me; they will invest their time to talk to you. Don’t waste it.

Be direct, but understand, nobody if perfect (even you) things happen in remodeling. Whatever comes up, address it on the spot and work with your contractor to resolve any issues immediately. A good one will have no problem with that.

And most important, have fun in the process and you will get a beautiful project!

Tips & Warnings

Remember, the process of selection is mutual. You are being selected as well.

Trust your gut, if it does not feel right, don’t do it!



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9 responses to “How to Hire a Home Improvement Contractor – The Contractor’s View

  1. I would also suggest looking for middlemen companies who do not have vested interest in helping contractors only, but also helping homeowners. There are companies which help bring homeowners and contractors together.

    • I respectfully, but completely disagree. Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with about 10, or more, contractor referral companies, none is good.
      With due respect to your great website and business idea, I would not let anyone be between me and my clients.
      We try to remove the middle man because having one just adds to the complexity of already complex remodeling business.
      And what do you mean by “companies who do not have vested interest”?
      If you don’t have vested interest, you are not running a business.

    • I think I need to add clarification to my reply. Your business model is great, after all you have been doing it since 1961. I just think that it works for small, service kind of projects, such as handyman, electrical or plumbing repairs etc.
      For a full service design-build remodeling company it does not work.

  2. I’ve been hearing BBB is not sufficient enough for finding good contractors.

  3. You rarely get to see the contractors point of view but always the client struggling and suffering through shoddy contractors.

    Thank you for this.

  4. Nice post!! I have read some of your posts and is really impressed. I am adding your blog to my RSS Feed reader.

  5. This post was extremely helpful to me. I am in the process of finding a siding contractor. I just had my kitchen and bathroom done as well by Four Brothers LLC, and was extremely satisfied with their professionalism and the quality of their work.

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