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How to find a contractor

So you need a new roof. Maybe you’re ready for that home addition. Or is it finally time to bring that avocado green 1970s kitchen into the 21st century?

Whatever it may be, a project awaits. But how do you go about finding a good contractor?

Referrals from others top the list. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.  

Are there similar projects being done in your neighborhood?  Ask the homeowner if they’re satisfied with the work done and would they recommend the contractor to others.

 Contractors can be found in the Yellow Pages, through Internet searches and newspaper ads. Local contractors who do the kinds of projects you’re looking to do also can be found through trade and industry associations.  

But before you do any of that, do your homework about the project you’re about to tackle. Know the basics so you can talk intelligently about the job with prospective contractors. Have questions ready. Take notes on their answers. You think you’ll remember everything they say. You won’t.

Before choosing a contractor, make sure they’re experienced and reputable. How long have they been in business? What’s their specialty? Do they use subcontractors? How many of these projects have they done in the past year. Ask for references from those projects and check them out.

Also check them out with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure they’re licensed, bonded and insured. Contractors and remodelers must have state

licenses in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but individual employees do not, and some specialty contractors may not need a municipal or state license.

Get several bids.

The lowest bid isn’t always the best when you’re uncomfortable with the contractor or have reservations about the company and its approach to the project.