Choosing the right contractor begins with a search. I recommend first asking family and friends. This has always been the way I initially went about it and I believe it’s a natural response…you want to find someone who has done a good job for another. Family and friends tend to give an honest opinion and you could be helping them receive a referral fee at the same time. Outside of that, I’d recommend going to your homeowner’s association or local organization to see if they have a preferred contractor’s book. If you don’t have a homeowner’s association (or similar), then try a local building supply house.

Now that you have a lead or two, the next step is to schedule some appointments to see which contractor you feel will best serve your needs and wants. Remember this is a partnership for years to come, so I advise you to take your time. These are basic, but very important things that you need to cover when meeting with them:

• Do they have a state contractor’s license?
• Do they carry General Liability Insurance, is it up to date? Is the policy enough to cover your house in case of an accident? Make sure that you get an update proof of insurance from their insurance company before you start your project.
• Do they carry Workers Compensation on all their employees and their self? Make sure that you get an updated copy of Workers compensation.
• Some projects (larger) should to be bonded. Are they adequately bonded?
• What are their warranties?
• Will they give you a lien waiver?

These are very important items you need from whichever contractor you choose. Sometimes these basic steps are left out and end up costing a homeowner dearly. So take your time and make sure you cover these basic points. You will be turning to your contractor for guidance and his experience in many decisions throughout your building process, so choose one that you trust and feel comfortable with.