7 Tips to Know Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

A bathroom remodeling contractor, kitchen remodel company, or trade-specific contractor all have one thing in common: A reputation for making your life difficult by not being reliable or honest, running off with your money, or simply doing a poor job and falling off the map. Many homeowners will look for “contractors near me” online and leave themselves open to pitfalls. Here are some sure-fire tips to help you avoid the headaches that working with tradesmen can create.

Use these tips to avoid:

  • The “fly by night” contractor who requests a deposit for materials and first period of labor, whom you never hear from again!
  • Unreliable contractors that mess up your schedule by not showing up or not communicating. What a pain!
  • Contractors that are simply not skilled enough for the job! Don’t ask me about the tile back splash installed by the guy whose “uncle did tile work for 30 years and was among the best”…
  • Over paying the contractor who asked for a draw and never finished the job.

1. Start With Referrals

Reach out to anyone you know that has hired a bathroom remodeling contractor or has done a kitchen remodel, and ask them if they would recommend that contractor. Ask about their experience. In our business, this has provided the highest quality of contractors that we have worked with. I don’t know where we would be without the good people who have shared their contacts!

2. Research Them Online

If you are hiring a Billy Joe who works out of the back of his S10, he likely doesn’t have an online presence. That means two things: It’s harder for you to verify that he’ll be good to work with, and there’s no where for you to post a review about your experience with him if something goes wrong. In other words, he can pull the wool over your eyes, and he knows he won’t be held accountable when he runs off into the night!

Of course, you’ll prefer to see an online presence, and several good reviews of people who have hired him.

3. Licensed & Insured

Top tier remodeling contractors are licensed and insured. You won’t always need top tier, especially if it is just a couple odd jobs. The larger mechanicals tend to need licenses, such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. Licensed and insured contractors are often more expensive, but their organization and quality of work often more than makes up the difference in trouble you save. If they are licensed, you can also file a complaint against them with the state.

If you choose to go with a licensed and insured contractor, first ask if they are, then ask for their license number and proof of general liability insurance. Verify their license at http://verify.tn.gov/ if you are in TN.

They also have some more helpful tips on hiring a contractor at this TN.gov page.

4. Don’t Ever Pay With Cash

Since there’s no paper trail with cash, you can get caught in trouble paying this way. What if the remodeling contractor files a lien on the house saying you never paid him? Impossible to prove if you paid with cash. What about tax time? If the IRS needs to see documentation of expenses paid, you are out of luck!

5. Only Pay for Work That is Completed

As the saying goes, “stay ahead” of the contractors near you. That means you should never pay for anything that’s not completed or materials that aren’t currently in your possession. And believe me, he’ll tell you all about how he’s heading out to finish today and just wants to get paid now instead of coming back for the rest of it after today. But if you do that, now he has a short term loan, and he’s taking that money to another job or another pack of cigarettes! You may never see those last tasks completed. As me how I know!

6. Sign a Written Contract

From small jobs all the way up to perhaps a full kitchen remodel, it’s best to get something in writing with your hire. Yes, it takes more time, but it ensures a smoother process. Contact Us if you would like a copy of the contract we use with our team. Even the best remodeling contractors need something in writing!

7. End with Referrals

Finally, ask the contractor you are about to hire for repairs or a kitchen remodel for contact info of clients they have worked for. Also, request any pictures they have of the work on that job. Then, call! Many will be happy that he at least was confident enough to send you numbers to call


, but that’s not good enough! Call those clients and ask about their experience. Would they hire this bathroom remodeling contractor again? If they share problems, or would not hire again, move on to the next contractor! Yes, it’s painful, but not nearly as painful as spending $100s or $1000s only to find out the contractor didn’t finish the job, or did a sub-standard job and now won’t return calls. What a pain!

Can you skip these 7 tips and still get a decent contractor that gets the job done to your satisfaction?

Yes. But that would be relying heavily on luck, and that’s a game we choose to stay out of! It has very rarely gone in our favor.

If you’ve considered selling your home or house, even if it needs a lot of repairs, we can buy it as is and use our crew to do the work. Click here to drop your information in these 3 fields or call 615-933-1777 to get an offer within 24 hours of us viewing the home!


One thought on “7 Tips to Know Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

  1. Your advice to contact people you know that have worked with bathroom remodeling companies in order to learn about the experience is a good idea. I also appreciate that you recommend researching online to read reviews and check out their website to verify that the contractor is easy to work with. While you’re online, it might help to check out their website so you can get examples of their previous bathroom remodeling projects to check their skills yourself to figure out which company is best for the work that you want to be done.

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