13 Ways to Not Get Screwed By Your Contractor

Summer is the season most families begin tackling their home renovation projects. Americans spend a total of $130 billion on home renovations each year and is expected to keep rising, according to the U.S. Census data. Upgrading their kitchens and master baths are the typical remodels, but no matter the project it is important to be working with a reliable contactor. Here is the first of two parts about how to not get burned by a bad contactor.


  1. Third time’s a charm

Be sure to interview and find references for at least three different contractors. Don’t pick one because you like his company name or because he’s friends with your sister. Angie’s List is an excellent resource to find quality contractors.

  1. Compare oranges to oranges

Being consistent when asking contractors for a bid is key. Don’t add little projects to each’s bid because it can get confusing. Stay with a consistent workload for each contractor. This way you will find the true price and not have to remember if you asked contractor A to do a little more than contractor B.

  1. Callback turnaround

If you do not hear back from a contractor within 48 hours let them go! The contractor you want is responsive, eager to get to work, and driven. Without hearing back from them you should assume they’ll be this unreliable throughout the length of the project.  Make a time for in person interviews, and if they don’t show, take them off your list.

  1. Know their specialties


Find out what their specialties are, whether it’s kitchen renovations, commercial buildings, new construction, or whatever it may be. You want your contractor’s expertise to align with the job at hand.


  1. Get the skinny on the crew


How many people work under this contractor? Is it just a single contractor, or do they have a small team?


  1. Is “sub out” in their vocabulary

Can they do it all? Or do they have to subcontract specific jobs out like electrical or plumbing work? If they are hiring out subcontractors for big jobs, go ahead and hire the subcontractor yourself, to save on commission fees.

  1. Busy Body


How many different jobs is your contractor working on right now? This number will tell you how quickly they can get yours complete. If they have a small company, make sure they’re not overbooked and working on more than four jobs at once.


These are the first seven tips to make sure you don’t have a negative experience with your contractor and home renovation project. The next log will complete this, so stay tuned!  

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