How to Choose the Right Contractor for my Project


Homeowners encounter many fears and concerns when considering a home improvement project. How much will it set you back? Will it take a long time? Is this the best course of action? However, there is one question that homeowners should ask more frequently: how do I choose the right contractor for my business? 

Contracting is the #1 issue among homeowners undergoing home improvements, according to the Consumer Federation of America and the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators. According to another poll, over half of all respondents would not hire their contractor for a future job. You do not want this to be you, as home improvement projects are an investment, and choosing the right team to get the job done is crucial.  Too many people waste thousands of dollars on home renovation projects only to be dissatisfied with the finished product. 

Hiring the appropriate contractor is crucial to a successful project. A bad contractor may frustrate your efforts and waste time, money, and energy, whether your project is a simple residential update or a major overhaul. This is why finding the correct expert contractor for your job is important. 

When choosing a contractor for a project, use the steps below as a reference.

1. Make a prospect list 

The first step is to decide which project you want to work on, if you want to do one renovation at a time or hire a team to tackle multiple projects. Make a list of things you want and don’t want to see regarding your contractor’s work. Make a list of your goals and expectations for the contractor. This will assist you in compiling your prospect list. Ask for referrals from friends and relatives who have worked on comparable projects. You might also take a trip around your area, look for successful projects, and then ask the contractors for their contact information.

2. Inquire about referrals and references

Take your time calling each contractor on your list after it’s completed. Ask as many questions as you want. A qualified contractor should be able to offer you a list of former clients’ references. A contractor with a large record of former clients may demonstrate that he is trustworthy and works well with others. Look at their online reviews to get honest feedback from real customers that have worked with the contractor. 

3. Think about the contractor’s background

Working with a contractor with specific skills is usually recommended. Find out how long they’ve been in business and their areas of expertise. If you want to create a commercial retail and office space, hiring a contractor with only a home improvement experience is generally not a good choice.

4. Examine each contractor

After you’ve compiled a list of local contractors or builders, investigate each. Check out their websites, contact the Better Business Bureau, and find reviews of the contractors via multiple platforms to better understand what customers really have to say about their services. Learn about the organization’s capabilities, financial standing/solvency, experience level, prior projects, and reputation. You may discover during your study that some have no experience with the scale of bespoke work you want or that their reputation is poor. Remove them from your list. 

Check out Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List for reviews. You want to know if the contractor is qualified for the task and would collaborate nicely with you. It’s important to remember that reading reviews isn’t a replacement for verifying references, which will be handled in a later phase. 

Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and provide not just a list of contractors but also ratings and reviews from the contractors’ prior clients, so you can get a better idea of how well a specific firm is likely to do. 

Once you have most of the information you need, make a brief call to each of your remaining prospects and ask them some introduction questions or other inquiries that will disclose the company’s availability, dependability, the amount of attention they’ll be able to devote to your project, and how easily the job will proceed. 

Ask questions about their job experience, licenses, and what sets them apart from the competition. 

In most circumstances, the answers to these three questions will give you an initial impression of how each organization runs. If you’re happy with the phone conversation, request a face-to-face meeting to discuss your project and how you’ll work together in further detail.

5. Double-check the information and choose your top contractors

Consider all of your options carefully. Choose three to five contractors from your list of prospects. Invite them to your building site for a personal interview, estimate, and project scope. These meetings are a great way to double-check their licensing and insurance, understand who they are and their work ethic.

You should also check with the licensing body to see if their insurance is still good. You don’t want your contractor’s license suspended in the middle of your job. Surprisingly, this is a more common issue than people realize. Insurance and licensing are the most important things you should ask about when hiring a professional contractor. 

Choose the most qualified contractor from the list. Remember that the cheapest contractor is not always the best. Inquire why a contractor’s quote is much cheaper than his or her competitors. It might be that the contractor changed orders in the midst of the project, causing the budget to exceed your expectations.

5. Request an estimate in writing 

Your project has now been assigned to a contractor. Always obtain formal contracts that fully state all of the things you discussed. Budget and schedule adherence is required. Establish a start and finish date for your project with your contractor ahead of time. Make sure you have communicated the types of materials you are interested in for the job so they can include appropriate material allowances in your estimate/contract. If you plan to use high-end fixtures, you need to budget for that up front.

6. Sign The Contract

Now is the time to make a choice. At this point, you may have multiple bids or estimates in writing, you have a good understanding of your top contractors’ capabilities, work ethic, availability, and pricing. 

After you’ve picked a bid or agreed on a price with your chosen contractor, they will draft a contract to put everything in writing. Everything from the start date and projected completion date, specific materials and products to be used, to a requirement that the contractor obtains lien releases (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers, the contract should be very detailed. Contracts hold both parties accountable, do not under any circumstance let a contractor begin a project without a signed contract in place.

7. Prepare for the project start date

Once the contract is signed, you must prepare your space for renovation. Some contractors handle everything from start to finish, while others ask the homeowners to prep the home. For example, moving furniture out of the space, making sure walkways are cleared, parking is available, and neighbors and HOAs are aware of the renovations to occur. These things will ensure that your contractors do not run into any issues throughout the renovation process. 

8. Meet the subcontractors and team

Keep in mind that you’ll frequently communicate with the contractor’s team and subcontractors. Ask a contractor who they utilize for certain renovation work when you’re interviewing them. For example, if you’re remodeling a whole home, you’ll almost certainly work with several service providers, including electricians, plumbers, HVAC specialists, flooring specialists, and others. You should perform the same due diligence on your subcontractors as you would on your contractor. Inquire about the contractor’s management approach as well. How much time do they devote to supervising subcontractors? Is every subcontractor subjected to a background check? C-U Under Construction has all of the trades companies in-house so you rarely have to deal with subcontractors.

Looking for a contractor in the C-U region?

C-U Under construction is a leading construction company serving the Greater C-U region. When picking a contractor for your residential or commercial project, C-U is the team call. We have experience with renovations of all sizes – from bathroom remodels, add-ons, basement finishing, kitchen remodels and more, our team can take your renovation to the next level. Contact our team today to get an estimate on your next project!



1153 County Road 1200 East

Champaign, IL 61822



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