How to Tell a Good Contractor from a Not-So-Good One

All contractors will tell you they are your best choice for remodeling your home. They finish on time, within budget and you get to live happily ever after in your perfect home.

Except, we all know not all remodelers are created equal. There are too many horror stories out there about deadlines missed and skyrocketing costs to take every promise at face value.

So how can you feel confident that you’re joining forces with a remodeler who is capable, reliable, honest and does the caliber of work you need for the end result you want?

Some things are green — or red — flags before you sign the contract, while others will become obvious fairly quickly as work begins on your project. So be sure you do your due diligence before you make a commitment. Look for a licensed general contractor who has great reviews and whose portfolio matches with your style and desires for your home remodel.

Good Contractor

  • Has a business address (not working out of their car)
  • Can provide references
  • Provides a clear, detailed contract that defines expectations and responsibilities
  • Employees appear and behave professionally
  • Equipment is (reasonably) clean and well kept
  • Subcontractors appear and behave professionally
  • Have good working relationships with subcontractors; regard them as partners, not vendors
  • Ongoing communication is built into their process
  • Deadlines are met, or, if need to change, client is consulted
  • Treat client’s family, home and pets with respect
  • Is a licensed general contractor who is insured and can provide proof
  • Participate in continuing education and can provide proof
  • Have good working relationships with building inspectors
  • Is EPA lead-safe certified

Not-So-Good Contractor

  • Has no business address (P.O. Box or just email address and phone numbers)
  • Cannot provide references
  • Provides a generic, general contract
  • Employees appear unkempt
  • Equipment is on its last leg
  • Subcontractors appear a bit edgy
  • May not know subcontractors (took the lowest bid)
  • No regular communication; unless you ask a question, you don’t know what’s going on
  • Deadlines are routinely missed with no explanation
  • Rubble, clutter and mess is the (dis)order of the day; workers are unpleasant, uncommunicative and sometimes downright rude
  • Is not licensed and insured, or claim to be but have no paper proof
  • No continuing education
  • No — or an adversarial — relationship with building inspectors
  • Is not EPA lead-safe certified
Contact M Design Build to discuss your remodel project.