Many contractors do excellent work. They arrive on the day they say work will begin, complete your job on schedule, and leave your premises clean and tidy. But other contractors are frustrating to work with. They arrive late, disappear for days while they work on other jobs, and leave your property looking like a cyclone hit it.

How can you increase the odds of hiring a good contractor? A lot depends on asking the right questions ahead of time. Here are some critical ones to ask . . .

  1. Are any complaints on file against you with the Better Business Bureau? (Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau online.)
  2. Are any lawsuits pending against you?
  3. Can I speak with four or five of your other clients?
  4. Can you tell me about the last job you did?
  5. How can I see “before and after” images of your previous projects?
  6. How many people are on your payroll? What do they do for you?
  7. How many years have you been in business?
  8. Is the bid you are giving final and firm, or will you increase it if you encounter any unexpected problems after you start work?
  9. When will you start work on my project? When will you finish? Will you put that in writing?
  10. Who is your insurance company, and how much liability insurance coverage do you carry?
  11. Will all the workpeople you use be your own employees, or will you contract out part of the work?

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