Selecting a Reliable Contractor

Whether you are interested in rehabbing houses, maybe remodeling your own house or just wanting to make some minor improvements you’ve encountered the following questions: Who should I hire to do the work? Should I pick the cheapest, most professional, or something in between? What should I ask them during the interview? Hopefully the following will help relieve some of your concerns during what can be an extremely stressful time.

Selecting A Reliable Contractor

1. Ask friends and family about experiences

Selecting A Reliable Contractor

2. Interview several contractors

Selecting A Reliable Contractor

3. Ask for references (and actually call them)! Ironically, I was doing some work on a condominium unit and had a contractor that I was quite impressed with and thought I would be selecting for the job. Just to be safe, I called the first reference on the list he gave me. The reference actually said he was currently in a lawsuit with the contractor over unsatisfactory work. Needless to say, I chose not to with this contractor and am very glad I did some research on him before getting started. Not to say the exact same thing would happen to me, but if he is not even concerned enough to make sure his references are “good” references, I’d rather not have him doing work for me.

Selecting A Reliable Contractor

4. Request certificates of insurance

5. Be sure YOU are the one who selects the materials (tile, carpet, paint, etc.)

6. Make yourself available during the job and check on progress daily

7. Do NOT pay in full until the job is 100% complete to YOUR satisfaction. Be prepared to pay in portions (ex. 1/3 up-front; 1/3 mid-way through the job; 1/3 upon completion).

8. Ask for copies of all applicable licenses/certifications

9. Check records with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

10. Take a look at past jobs

11. Ask who will be supervising the workers

12. Ask if they use sub-contractors. If so, check references and BBB records for them as well.

13. Make sure bids and contracts are in writing and spell out details of job and specific time-frames.

14. Ask about policies for incidental damage and warranties for the work they perform.

Most importantly, go with your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you are selecting a contractor that you are comfortable working with for several months.

Greg Iverson is a licensed mortgage broker in the State of Missouri. After several years of successful mortgage planning, Greg founded Noble Mortgage Lenders to feed his entrepreneurial spirit. Find out why more St. Louisians trust Greg to manage their mortgage at