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How to find a reliable general contractor: 9 Helpful tips

Hiring a general contractor to build a new home or renovate the house you live in now can be overwhelming and stressful. How are you supposed to know who's a good contractor out of the many options in your local area? Once you find a few reliable, trustworthy contractors, what’s the best way to pick between them? Whether you’re building a new home or you want to make some energy-efficient upgrades to your house, this article will help you in your quest to choose a reliable contractor that can do what you want the right way. 

Ask friends for recommendations

Your friends and family are the ones you can trust more than anyone. It’s always beneficial to check in with them to see if they have experience with qualified general contractors where you live. 

Focus on local companies

Choosing a local contractor has a myriad of benefits. Firstly, you can see their past work to understand better how good they actually are. Not to mention, when you work with a local contractor, you have more frequent opportunities to ask them questions and communicate exactly what you’re looking for in person. 

Look for licensed, insured contractors

It’s essential to hire a licensed, insured contractor. With a license comes peace of mind knowing your contractor has gone through rigorous training and conforms to state regulations. Perhaps even more important, you should look for a general contractor who’s insured. This protects you if something goes wrong or workers are injured while building or renovating your home. 

Get three bids with details in writing

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few qualified contractors, it’s important to get bids from all of them. If you skip this step, you may pay significantly more for the same project when you didn’t have to. 

Ask about previous experience

A contractor's previous experience is extremely helpful to understand whether or not they're reliable and trustworthy. If a contractor lacks experience, that should be a red flag. For local contractors with experience, it may be helpful to visit some of their past projects so you can see the quality of their work firsthand. 

Check references

Checking a contractor’s references is a good way to understand how good they are. If other people who’ve worked with that contractor in the past have positive things to say, that’s a good sign they may be trustworthy. 

Check with the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau is a great place to go when choosing between general contractors. For one, BBB accredited contractors are assessed to ensure they’re ethical, honest and transparent. Even contractors who aren't accredited are given a rating to provide you with an idea of how trustworthy they may be. 

Find an ENERGY STAR® qualified home builder

For those looking to prioritize energy efficiency in their new home, an Energy Star® home builder has the know-how to make it happen. The Energy Star website even has its own tool to help you locate qualified contractors in your area. 

Locate a Certified Green Professional builder in your community by visiting the National Association of Home Builders

Certified Green Professional builders, like Energy Star® qualified builders, have experience with homes that are built using green, sustainable practices. According to NAHB, there are currently 3,000 active Certified Green Professionals operating in the United States. 

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