Can We Really Trust Home Improvement Contractors?

From on February 09, 2012 in Tools and Tips


Mistrusting your contractor can be the most stressful element of home remodeling. How do you find a great contractor? How do you know who to trust?

If a home renovation is the design equivalent of surgery, then consider your contractors and professionals the surgeons. You want the situation properly diagnosed, and the renovations executed with honesty, timeliness, and quality.

There are inferior surgeons out there just as there are inferior contractors—and we’re here to help you understand how to find the best.

The 4 Types of Unsatisfactory Contractors

There are four main kinds of unsatisfactory contractors:

  1. The lowball pro, who offers bids much lower than his competitors, but then completes the task with even lower quality to come away with a profit.
  2. The confidence man, who promises anything for the job but vanishes before you are satisfied.
  3. The overpriced highballer, who does a decent job but whose high bid doesn’t match the end product.
  4. The well-intended pro, whose intentions overshoot his actual competence.

Mistakes That Homeowners Make

As a result, homeowners end up making one of the following mistakes:

  • Selecting contractors based on their rates alone.
  • Falling into traps of dishonesty.
  • Not putting enough in writing when constructing the contract.

How to Find a Reliable Contractor

If you don’t want to wind up in a frustrating and expensive remodeling nightmare, it’s critical that you select a contractor for the right qualities. Here’s how.

Screening for the Right Qualities

contractor-with-hammerYou should always use a licensed home improvement contractor and salesperson. Once you have a prospect in mind, check with your local consumer protection agency to learn if a contractor is licensed.

Or, to simplify the process, use a contractor screening company like CalFinder.

To get a certified contractor’s rates in your area, click here.

We screen for licensing, insurance and quality of work. Every time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Around

You may have seen some recent remodeling work that impressed you. Perhaps a friend just finished a kitchen remodel and would be open to a conversation about how they went about it. Or maybe you’ve simply driven by a home with new siding, and you’d like some guidance. Don’t be shy about asking around your neighborhood and friend circle for recommendations.

Such resources are valuable, because having experienced the siding or kitchen remodeling contractors personally, your resource can give you their pros and cons, in a firsthand, personalized manner.

Shop Around the Easy Way


Take advantage of search engines that have already accumulated reliable contractors to save you time and headaches. CalFinder’s own database boasts thousands of quality contractors. These professionals are the best around, and can be found in your area, no matter where you live. With such a database, much of the groundwork is already done for you, helping you confidently move forward on your path to renovation.

There are definitely more good stories about contractors than bad. You can get a wonderful, qualified contractor who not only performs great work, but understands your specific tastes and needs. You just need to do the right homework to find them.