Six Signs You’ve Found a Good Contractor

Everyone has heard horror stories of working with a bad contractor. We all have friends whose construction projects went thousands of dollars over budget or whose three month renovation project turned into a one-year disaster. But you can avoid these stories if you hire a reputable, good contractor. 

How exactly do you find a reputable contractor? First, find multiple contractors, interview them, and collect bids. When you have a couple choices to choose from, you can better judge how they stack up, if their bids are realistic, and past work they’ve done. Here are six tell-tale signs to look for when interviewing different contractors to determine which one is right for you. 

Use reputable sources to find potential contractors

When looking for a contractor, search using reputable sources. Some reputable websites for contractors include:

  • The Better Business Bureau

  • NextDoor

  • Google reviews

  • The reviews on their Facebook page

  • Projects showcased on their Instagram

Another great idea is to ask a friend who recently completed a renovation or construction project for a referral. Hearing an honest review from a friend or family member is often the most effective way to find a reputable contractor. 

Make sure they’re licensed 

Always work with a licensed contractor. If a contractor can’t show you their license and speak about their experience, they probably don’t have the needed expertise for your project. 

Ask for references and work samples

When talking to a contractor, don’t be afraid to ask for past clients and their contact information. These references can reveal what it actually is like to work with this contractor. You can also ask for work samples–some contractors might even display work samples on their website or social media. 

Look into the bid or estimate

It’s often best to shop around and talk to a couple different contractors. Always ask any contractor you are considering for a bid or estimate. Once you have a couple bids, it can be tempting to select the lowest one, though this isn’t always the best idea. If someone’s bid is much lower than all the other contractors, it probably means they will cut corners, leading to higher renovation costs in the future, or they’re not being upfront about how long the project will take. Instead, choose a contractor who can speak openly about price and has a reasonable estimate. 

Find a proactive contractor

Especially with the current inflation and supply chain problems in construction, a proactive contractor can shave months off a project and cut costs. To find a proactive contractor, ask questions about their workflow, how they manage team members, and when they will order materials.

Research their subcontractors 

A contractor doesn’t work alone. Often, they subcontract parts of the project out to other experts. While you want a contractor who subcontracts work out, you want to make sure they are subcontracting to experts. It’s much better to have the best plumber in town working on your project than the contractor’s cousin who wants to break into the plumbing business. 

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project. 

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.