Tips for Vetting Your Next Contractor

When it comes to hiring a contractor, the saying “you get what you pay for” is especially true. Going by price alone increases the risk for problems or even total failure that can lead to higher costs over the long term.

Of course, vetting your next contractor to ensure a job well done, and at a reasonable price, can feel like an overwhelming task. After all that time you spent searching for your perfect place among the homes for sale in Colorado Springs, for example, you don’t want to trust your investment to just anyone.

These tips will go along way in making that choice easier and increasing the odds of satisfaction too.

References and reviews

One of the best methods of obtaining a fair, knowledgeable contractor is through customer referrals. Ask your friends, neighbors, relatives or business associates if they know of a trusted contractor. You might even consider visiting your local lumberyard or hardware store as the staff should be familiar with area contractors and which ones purchase higher quality materials and pay their bills on time.

Be sure to check the references of several of the company’s past clients and conduct extensive online research to read reviews and determine what some of their customers have had to say about their experiences.

You can also check for complaints through sites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind that people are much more likely to leave a bad review after experiencing poor service than they will a good review, which means utilizing a contractor with lots of good reviews that’s been in business for five years or more, brings the best odds for a positive experience.


The contractor should obviously be licensed and certified to do the job, or you as the homeowner can risk extensive damage and a potentially huge financial loss if the work has to be done all over again. Licensing will ensure that you’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re doing, values their reputation, and is established in their field. Also look for certain certifications from national trade organizations, which are usually listed as abbreviations following the contractor’s name. These indicate that the company or individual belongs to organizations that bind them to a strict code of ethics, such as NAHB, which indicates National Association of Home Builders membership.

Price Reflects Quality

The lowest bid is not always the best value – in fact, it might indicate that sub-par materials will be used, or that the contractor is desperate for work. The more accurate, best value bid is likely to be somewhere in the middle. Ask for the costs of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses to all be broken down in order to most accurately compare bids.

Communication is Key from Start to Finish

From the time you first begin comparing contractors via phone calls, emails, etc. to the finish of the project, communication is key. You can get a good idea of what to expect simply by calling around and assessing how your initial contact is responded to. Once you choose the contractor, insist on regular contact through whichever method works best. A regular, perhaps, weekly update goes a long way in ensuring everything stays on track.