How To Get A Great Contractor

Finding A Good Contractor

Tips On How To Find A Great Contractor

After weeks or months of planning to upgrade your home and finally getting to the place of actual construction, it’s time to start roll up the sleeves. This can include small handyman jobs, new construction to a bathroom or kitchen remodel project. It really doesn’t matter whether you have chosen a brand new project or a chance to reconstruct or remodel an existing building to meet your needs.


Either way, if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to look for a General Building Contractor, or tackle the job yourself and hire Subcontractors. This is no easy task and if you don’t do thorough investigation or hire someone that is not a licensed Contractor… You will (absolutely 100%) be sorry.

Over the years I have been part of certain organizations and one in particular was because I was recommended to be a part of it by customers. The company is Angie’s List.  Anyone associated to this referral system treats it like gold because a lot of work can come from this reputable company. If you are having trouble finding a good and solid Contractor, just look to this company. The business people associated with Angie’s List guard the relationship with the utmost respect. Why…because their livelihood and the bellies of their families depend on it.

Choosing a reputable, honest and licensed  Portland Oregon Contractor is crucial to the success of any new or existing homeowner project. An unqualified  or unlicensed Contractor can quickly turn your dreams into endless headaches cesspool storm swirling with problems. I have always maintained a bottom line checklist of  tips for choosing the proper Contractor for any size job:

1. Make sure you have at least 5 sets of “Complete” plans for your project and then proceed to get at least 3 different quotes from your list of potential Contractors in Portland. Be careful of Contractors that have too many allowances in their bid. This can be avoided by choosing  the new fixtures in advance.   Side Note: (In most cases the allowances are for items yet to be determined such as light fixtures and plumbing finishes).

2. The Contractor in question should have a current  Contractor license (this can usually be checked with the Builders Board in your community), as well as a current liability insurance including a valid Bond. Always ask to see original certification that has up to date information on your Contractor.

3. Check with previous customers. Were they satisfied with the work? Was the work finished on time? Did the contractor return phone calls? If the person had problems with the contractor, ask how the contractor responded to complaints. If you cannot visit any of the contractor’s job sites then ask for pictures.

4. In most cases, the Contractor should pull all permits and schedule all inspections. This can also be decided and written into your contract. In my opinion, this step is best left to the General Contractor if you decide to go that way.

Hiring Your Contractor – Do You Need A Contract?

YES YOU DO!  For your protection – Contracts should be as detailed as possible. Some items to include:  Materials and costs, permits, estimated start and completion dates, debris removal, and arbitration clauses.  Here’s the flip side – No contract, no recourse.

Here are some pointers to assure a solid contract:

* Read and understand your contract before signing it – Don’t be pressured into signing your contract without taking the time needed to go through it. Make sure it includes enough details to avoid misunderstandings and to protect you and your property.

* Special Note on Liens – Subcontractors and material suppliers that work on your project are often paid by the general contractor. If a general contractor fails to pay, the subcontractor may file a lien on your property. For information on construction liens, visit the CCB’s Consumer

* A Payment Schedule – should be included in the contract. Stick to the schedule and never pay in full for a project before the work is complete.

Your remodel or addition doesn’t have to be a nightmare. I have done plenty of jobs over the last 30 + years and most of my customers are dear friends.

Remember that a well respected Contractor will have a proven track record. Trust your intuition and gut feeling when the initial introduction is made either through a referral or other means.

** Side Note on Saving Money with a remodel, or renovation:

Occasionally, and I mean occasionally, you can request to do some of the demolition. This is risky for any Contractor because demolition is an art and if it’s not done right, big problems can arise. That means added expense. So . . . Only if you really understand why, how much, or how little and something about Construction theory should you consider asking about this.

Many contractors in will add a percentage to any fixtures or materials they purchase during the project. You can eliminate some of this if your Contractor agrees in having you personally purchase some of the materials. I also caution about this. You can’t ask your Contractor to do all the estimating (which takes time…and time is money) and then order materials thinking that he will wave the percentage. That’s not fair.

Finding the Right Contractor:

1. The referral system, alternatively known as “word of mouth” seems to be the best way to hire a Contractor. It doesn’t always work, but for the most part, . .  it does. You may have to wait for some time because these people (the good ones) are usually very busy.

Make sure you still do your due diligence and check things out via the phone and physical inspection of any projects they have done.

2. Over the years I have been part of certain organizations and one in particular was because I was recommended to be a part of it by customers. The company is Angie’s List.  Anyone associated to this referral system treats it like gold because a lot of work can come from this reputable company.

3.  I know that some folks cruised their neighborhood and local area, looking for projects that are or were under way, and  actually visited those projects by walking onto that job and meeting with the contractors working the site. Without a hard hat you may get chased away, but tell them what you’re looking for and they will often try to help you – Do not get in their way under any circumstances.  Sometimes that also works.  It can’t hurt.  This way you get an on site visual of how they work and you can keep track of the progress and note your thoughts and questions to ask of either the homeowner, or the contractor – or both. This is a great way to actually talk to the homeowner and/or contractor to get their take on how satisfied they are with how things are going with their construction project.  Steer clear of confrontation on a job site.  If you are asked to leave – Just leave respectfully.  It doesn’t matter why you were asked to go – do it because in all honesty, you are trespassing.