Adding a room, renovating a kitchen, or doing repairs? Finding a good contractor is important — a home improvement project gone wrong can cost you. A good ad isn’t proof a contractor does quality work. Find out for yourself. Check with friends, neighbors, or co-workers who’ve had improvement work done, and check out a contractor’s reputation on online rating sites you trust. Get written estimates from several firms, keeping in mind the lowest bidder may not be the best choice. Also important: know the signs of a scam.


Do Your Research

  • Check with friends, neighbors, or co-workers who’ve used a contractor


  • Look at sites you trust that post ratings and reviews


  • Find out how long they’ve been in business


  • Check for qualifications, like licensing


Before You Hire a Contractor


  • Get Estimates

Once you’ve narrowed your options, get written estimates from several firms. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder. Ask for an explanation to see if there’s a reason for the difference in price.


  • Ask Questions


How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year?


Will my project require a permit?


May I have a list of references?


What types of insurance do you carry?


Contractors should have:

  • personal liability

  • worker’s compensation

  • property damage coverage


Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current, or you could be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.