How To Hire the Right Contractor for Your Next Renovation

By Jeremiah Rizzo (Guest Poster)

5 qualities to look for, and 6 to beware of.

Maybe you’re a homeowner gearing up for a home renovation (finally getting that kitchen remodel or addition!) to add more value to your home before you list it on the market. Or you’re a real estate investor or “house flipper” looking to gut and rehab your first flip.

It should be exciting, and it is, but you’re dreading the process of finding the right general contractor to partner with. Sure, there’s the new Facebook recommendations feature, or Google Business listings of contractors near you (along with their ratings), but this is your home!

What if they’re overpriced? What if they do a bad job? What if it takes way longer than you’re quoted?

Well, you’re not alone in feeling that way. Finding the right contractor to work with can be intimidating, or difficult, especially if you don’t know the industry.

So to help you out, here are 5 things to look for in a good and reputable contractor, and 6 things to help you identify an unprofessional one.

5 traits of a good contractor.

In the interview process, if you see or ask for these 5 things, and the company has or offers them, that’s a great sign.

The contractor is licensed and insured.

This should go without saying, but it may not be obvious that not everyone who’s going to come knocking on your door will have insurance, or be fully licensed. Make sure that you get verification of both of these things before moving on.

They have a good reputation of producing high quality work.

Ask the company for testimonials from past customers, or pictures from recent projects. Take a look at a large scope of projects they’ve done. Look at the details - the cuts, the edges, the corners, does it look professional? Additionally, you can check Google Business to see what past clients think. If they have no reviews (or very few), ask them why, and see if they can produce some for you.

They have experience and knowledge.

Ask how long they’ve been in business, how many projects they’ve completed, and if they’ve ever worked on a project like yours before. If this is their first go at something like this, then you might want to look for someone more experienced. Now, this doesn’t mean that years in business = quality, but you should look for some signs that they’ve successfully completed a number of projects like yours. Where do you find this info? Start with the contractor’s website. For example, this page from Bodden CGI details how many years they’ve been in business and the number of projects they’ve completed.

They have proper etiquette.

A great company will have customer-friendly policies in place like: no smoking on the jobsite; no cursing; showing up on-time; etc. They should be super customer-service focused.

They keep a clean job site.

Ask about what the project site will be like while they’re working on it. See if it’s their practice to clean up tools and straighten things up at the end of each day, or just leave things out. Yes, cleaning up at the end of each day is more labor intensive, but this is your home we’re talking about - and the contractor performing the work should be respectful of it.

6 warning signs of a bad contractor.


They don’t have much of a portfolio, or many projects they can point to. Inexperience can result in slower progress; costly mistakes; and extra financial costs for you in the long run if the work needs to be re-done. It’s worth paying for someone that’s experienced, and knows what they’re doing.

Unrealistic prices to get quality work done.

If they’re quoting you something much cheaper than other contractors, there is probably a reason for that.

Unkempt appearances.

Does the owner/team look professional? Do they maintain clean appearances, or do they look unkempt? If the team is unkempt or unprofessional in appearance, it may reflect on their work quality and how clean they’ll keep the jobsite.

Not returning phone calls in a timely manner.

Contractors are on their phones all day. They’re really busy, and often behind in getting customers estimates. But that doesn’t mean they can’t communicate with you to let you know what’s going on. If you reach out to request an estimate, and you don’t hear back for weeks on end, that’s a bad sign. If they can’t communicate with you up-front in a consistent way, don’t expect a ton of prompt communication once they start working for you.

They’re not punctual.

If a contractor or his crew are consistently late, that’s a bad sign. Many reputable companies require their teams to be at the work site (your house) at a consistent starting time every day. If the company you’re vetting shows trends of being late, be wary.

Not licensed.

And finally, steer clear of any company who is not a licensed general contractor.

Good luck on your next renovation!

Hopefully these tips will help you interview, vet, and hire your next contractor. Asking for recommendations from friends goes a long way in this process, and looking for these factors will help you avoid an unprofessional company. And if you need help selling a distressed property, we’re a cash buyer and liquidator of homes and distressed properties. Visit us at Everett Real Estate Investments to learn more.

Author: Jeremiah Rizzo - Digital Marketing Expert at AdWords Nerds