Contractor Checklist: 7 Key Steps for Selecting the Right Contractor

Are you looking to find the best contractor for the job?

Whether your job is big or small, you can bet that you’re going to be spending a lot of time and a lot of money completing this project. This is why it’s so important to ensure that you’re choosing a high quality and a trustworthy contractor.

If you’re on the hunt for a contractor, we’ve compiled a go-to contractor checklist that we’re happy to share. We’re outlining seven key steps on how to select the right contractor for the job.

1. Browse the Web

First things first, it’s time to take to the internet to find contractors.

This is one of the most common means of locating professionals for hire. In doing so, you can browse contractors that are in your area and specialize in the type of project that you’re after.

Most contractor profiles will connect you to their online portfolio. This is a great way to get to know them, browse their past projects and sometimes even read testimonials.

2. Ask Around

Of course, not all hiring should be relied upon from the depths of the online world.

When it comes to searching for a contractor, don’t estimate the power of referrals. In fact, one study found that 85 percent of businesses cite referrals as their number way source of new business.

Do you remember particularly loving your friend’s recent kitchen renovation? Or, what about your neighbor that just had work done on their bathroom?

Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family about contractors that they have worked with in the past. This is a great way to establish a sense of trust between yourself and your contractor and to ensure that they will do a quality job.

If you hire a contractor based on the art of referral, you might even find that you benefit from discounted pricing and elevated service!

3. Create a List

Short and simple, it’s time to create a list of all the possible contractors for your job.

This list is going to be compiled with all of the best contractors that you found online and from referrals. Slowly but surely, you can call these contractors and arrange to meet with them in-person at your home.

4. Conduct In-Person Interviews

Next, it’s time to set up a meeting with your potential contractors.

Sure, this might seem time-consuming at first. But, these interviews don’t have to be long and drawn out. After all, 33 percent of people conducting interviews report knowing in the first 90 seconds whether they will hire that person or not.

This is why meeting in person will always trump phone meetings. It’s incredibly important for them to physically come to your house and to see your space in person. In doing so, they’ll be better able to provide estimates and timelines for the anticipated job.

This is also a more efficient way of getting to know these contractors as people and as professionals. Remember, this contractor and their team are going to be spending a lot of time within your home. You want to ensure that you can get along well and be comfortable around this person on a relatively routine basis.

5. Request Estimates and Timelines

Now, let’s talk about money and timing!

Once you’ve gotten a feel for what these contractors are like as people, you can move onto requesting their estimates and timelines. Throughout this time, you’re going to want to expect contractors to both high-ball and low-ball your estimates.

You’re going to have some contractors that are pushing the boundaries and hoping that you’ll quickly accept their elevated pricing estimate. This is especially the case if they catch onto the fact that this is your first renovation project.

On the other hand, you’re going to have contractors that initially low-ball your estimate. For example, they might provide you with an inexpensive pricing model and tell you the project will be done within an impressively fast timespan.

The potential issue with this type of contractor is that they will provide low-estimates at first and then present you with additional pricing along the way. For example, they might tell you that the cost of the materials has gone up or that they ran into an unexpected roadblock in the process. Either way, this low-cost estimate often ends up costing you an arm and a leg in the end.

6. Contact Their References

Now that you’ve met with all of your potential contractors, it’s time to call their references.

This is where you’re going to ensure that they can do quality work and conduct themselves in a professional manner. It’s also a simple yet effective way to determine that their business is both legal and legitimate.

Remember, these people are going to be spending a lot of time in your home. This is both when your present within the home and when no one else is home. It’s absolutely imperative to trust these workers to do a quality job and conduct themselves responsibility within your home.

7. Request an Official Contract


You’ve finally made a decision as to who will be taking on your project. Now, the real work can begin and you can move forward knowing that you hired the right contractor for the job.

But, before you move too quickly, it’s crucial to ensure that you have a written contract between yourself and your contractor. In most cases, this will be supplied by the contractor and should outline the basic terms of your contract.

Let’s be honest, there’s a wide variety of problems that can occur throughout a renovation period. This could include anything from the employees damaging something within the home to not fulfilling the agreed-upon timeline.

In these circumstances, it’s best to have a written contract that outlines how these situations will be handled. This contract must be understood and signed by both parties. While this helps to protect your best interests, it also helps to protect the interests of the contractor and their employees.

Contractor Checklist

If you’ve yet to do a home renovation, you might think that adhering to a detailed contractor checklist is going a tad overboard.

But, once you understand the scope of the job and meet with a number of contractors, you’ll quickly understand that hiring a contractor isn’t exactly straightforward.

From beginning to end, this contractor checklist will ensure that you find the right contractor for the job. It will also help to protect your rights and interests along the way.

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