Checklist to Hiring a Contractor


This is a quick, short checklist when hiring a contractor.  Since I’ve been in business 30 years, I think I have a great handle on what customer’s need:

  1. Due Diligence:  What I mean by due diligence is to make sure they carry proper insurance required by your state.  Also, have a detailed contract given to you; and
  2. Referral List:  Get a referral from a trusted friend, neighbor or relative.

Hiring a Contractor – Due Diligence

One of the most important items you need in place BEFORE you sign a contract is to make sure your potential contractor is properly insured for the state you live in.  You should always have a Certificate of Insurance issued in your name, dated for the current month of the job starting, and showing they have both general liability and workman’s compensation insurance.

Secondly, get a detailed contract submitted to you.  Make sure the contract shows the product name they are using (i.e., a brand of paint), the number of coats, and to where the paint is being applied.  If remodeling, make sure you have specifics line-itemized for each are of the remodeling project.  When remodeling a bathroom, for example, make sure they itemize what they are doing for the plumbing, electrical, cabinets, etc.  

Referral List – Ask for One

Before signing a contract, ask for a referral list.  Call everyone on the list.  Make sure you get positive and any negative feedback from each customer.  When a contractor can only provide you 1-2 names, ask for at least 5-10 names.  Also, what specifically they did for that customer.  If you are looking to hire a kitchen remodeler, and all he has on the list are bathroom remodeling customers, ask for kitchen customers.  The same applies to hiring a deck stainer.  Make sure his references are for deck staining customers and not for interior painting! It’s always better to wait for the best contractor rather than go with whoever can get your job done the soonest. 

Of course, there are more things you can look into when hiring.  But I believe these are the most important ones to start with.  When having contractor conflicts, here is a great video to help you resolve the issues.  

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on your home projects, give me a call.   My team and I have been serving the Plainfield, Naperville, Lisle, Shorewood, Joliet, Oswego, Yorkville, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.

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