How to Find the Right Contractor

ladder in room


The Covid pandemic has caused the greatest remodeling boom in this era. Real estate is high, so many homeowners are buying homes not updated and choose to remodel.  What can you do as a homeowner to make sure you have the right contractor for your project? How do you navigate the supply chain issues and longer than normal renovation timelines?

Before you begin tackling any remodeling, finding the right contractor for your project seems like a full-time job. It may seem overwhelming and a long process. Here are some helpful tips that will make the process manageable.


The very first step in the process is to have a plan.  Busy contractors won’t rely on a Pinterest image to get an estimate.  Connect with an interior designer or architect to help you plan and budget your project.  You’ll get an accurate estimate with selected materials and drawings.


Google search engines make it easy to find a contractor and their reviews.  In a survey by, the two top ways to do a contractor search are through Google and by old-fashioned referral. For homeowners between the ages of 34-59, 42% of contractors’ searches happen by word of mouth. 


Once you have a plan in place, you have a contractor list and did some research, it’s now time to interview. Many consumers continue researching contractors online, even after meeting them in person.  

A consumer shouldn’t qualify a contractor based solely on pricing. Vetting a contractor should be based on some key points:

  • Do they have experience with similar renovations you are asking them to complete?

  • How many years of experience do they have?

  • How long have they been using their subcontractors? Do they have long-term relationships with their tradespeople?

  • Is there a dedicated project manager that is frequently on-site?

  • How does the contractor communicate with the homeowner any changes or issues that arise on a job site?

  • How does a contractor communicate lead times of materials and products? What about price changes in goods?

  • Does the contractor have a contingency fee for surprises (like a beam needing to be replaced which was discovered in demolition)?

  • Does the contractor keep a consumer up to date on project timelines?

These questions are a good place to begin.  The way that a contractor answers these questions will give a homeowner some insight into how they do business.


A homeowner has at least two contractors they would like to complete their renovation.  It’s good practice to ask for references and do a little sleuthing. Ask friends and family about their experiences working with the contractor. As an added step, a homeowner should verify if their insurances and licenses are up to date. In Pennsylvania, you can look up contractor licenses and see if there are any legal judgments, complaints.


Congratulations on navigating the contractor search! Before you begin your project, be sure that you have a detailed contract in place.  This will identify all aspects of the project and what the responsibilities are for each trade. Always make sure your contractor will pull the proper permits in your resident jurisdiction. This is very important if you plan to ever sell your home in the future.

You can feel confident and avoid headaches by doing your research.  Knowledge is power after all. Happy renovating friends!

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