Dealing with reliable home improvement contractors will make your renovation projects go much smoother and keep any associated inconveniences to a minimum.

When you speak with contractors regarding a bid on your project, be sure you are clear about what you want to achieve. If you noticed certain cabinets, flooring, lighting or countertops that you liked in a magazine, save the photos and show them to the contractor. Explain in clear terms what you expect as the end result and the contractor will be more effective at estimating the cost of the project. This should also cut back on or eliminate changes during the construction process since last minute changes can be very expensive.

Here are a few helpful tips to reference as you begin the contractor selection process:

  • Check to make sure the contractor you select is licensed, bonded and carries liability insurance.
  • Request references and verify with at least two previous customers.
  • Ask for a written estimate that is specific about all work that is to be performed.
  • If the estimate does not specify, ask for a start date and projected completion date.
  • Note the professionalism of the contractor. Is the work to be done explained in clear detail?
  • If you have any preferences or rules that the contractor must follow, make them clear. Examples:  No smoking on the property, no work on Sundays, no work to start before 8 AM, must remove shoes or put on protective foot covering before entering the home, etc.
  • Get at least three estimates from different contractors for your project.
  • If the estimates differ greatly in cost, find out why. Could it be that one contractor will use a higher grade of materials that the other? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • When discussing the project, how did you feel about the contractor in general? If you have any doubts or reservations, do not hire them.