If you’re planning on remodeling your home, the last thing you want is to become the subject of a renovation horror story. You can avoid the danger by following some basic guidelines for finding and hiring a contracting company.

Take Your Time and Ask Questions

This isn’t a race. Finding the right contractor for a home renovation project will take time and effort. You want to find someone trustworthy with whom you can easily communicate before, during and after the project.

When interviewing candidates, take your time and ask a lot of questions until you find the one who will be the best fit for your project. Here are some of the questions you should ask:

  • Are you insured? For how much?
  • Do you have workers compensation insurance?
  • Are you licensed?
  • What is your license number?
  • Are you willing to give me a list of former clients I can contact?
  • What is the experience of the lead carpenter who will be working on my job?
  • How long have you worked with your current subcontractors?
  • Will you have other projects going on at the same time?
  • What steps do you take to ensure the safety of my house?
  • What is the Contractor’s Specialty?

Here’s one more important question to ask: “What’s your specialty?” Some contractors specialize in building new homes, while others primarily do renovation and remodeling work. When looking at contractors, find one who has a lot of experience working on homes that are the same age and style as yours. For example, if you own a historic home, finding a company with experience in historic renovations and remodeling is key.

Whether you are doing a kitchen, a bath, or an addition, review the candidates’ portfolios of projects to get a feel for how their vision and quality of work can transform spaces similar to yours.

Read Reviews and Talk to Former Clients

Nowadays, many people don’t buy pens without reading tons of reviews online. Needless to say, the same should go for hiring a contractor. But while reading online reviews is a must for any home improvement project, it is also recommended that you get personal referrals from as many people as possible. Ask your friends, neighbors and co-­workers for names of professionals they have worked with. If a contractor has been named more than once, move that professional to the top of the list. That person has a great local reputation and will probably do great work in your home.

Check the contractor’s reference list and contact the more recent jobs. Those completed in the last six to 12 months are a better benchmark of performance than older ones and will give you a better gauge of how the company will perform on your project. If a company presents a reference list that only contains clients from years ago, it can be a red flag.

Quality Remains when Price is Forgotten