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If you want to improve your home and aren’t a “do-it-yourself-er,” hiring a contractor is likely the route you’ll use to make the changes you desire. As something you infrequently do, finding the right contractor to create your vision may be challenging. Here are some tips to find the right one for you.

Create a list of possible contractors that can perform the type of renovations you want, either from recommendations from friends or web searches. Do thorough research before contacting them, such as finding out their business ratings on sites like the Better Business Bureau, ensuring they are licensed, and finding any ratings they have from past clients on their web site, Google, or social media platforms.

When you’re ready to reach out to them, do so with a list of prepared questions: do they take on projects of your size and scope, do they have their own references they can provide, and how many projects do they have going on at the same time? If you receive satisfactory responses, meet in person where the job is to be completed so they can visually inspect the area and ask their own questions to get a true sense of the scope of the work.

Before the work starts, get quotes from the top two or three candidates for comparison. Their breakdown should include an itemized list of materials as well as expected labor costs. When you compare the quotes, don’t automatically go for the lowest bidder. The low bid may speak to the contractor’s experience or quality of their work. Be sure to ask questions about all quotes to ensure you know what exactly is and isn’t covered. After you’ve decided, sign a contract, which should state start date, milestone dates, end date, and payment schedule (some money up front, the rest spread throughout the duration of the work, or the end).

By following these basic tips, you should have a successful renovation by a qualified home improvement contractor!

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