How to pick a contractor
We all know that many people are on a budget, what they don't often think about is, "You get what you pay for." Your contractor should understand your budget from the beginning. Depending on this number, they should be able to work with you to decide what parts of your project are doable within those constraints, and which parts of the project may have to be changed or left out.
"I think the easiest way to accomplish this is to simply realize that, if it's too good to be true, it often is" says Doug, "Over straining your budget usually means one of two things, either your labor is shotty or your materials are cheap. Neither of which will leave you with a beautiful remodel or a good taste in your mouth, and most time you'll have to pay for the job completely redone within a short amount of time."
Secondly, ask for references. "I can't say this enough. If a contractor has integrity and is reputable in the community he will be able to furnish you with a minimum of three contact numbers of past clients that you can call and ask about his work history. If he has a problem with this request, find another contractor." So many times we walk into a meeting with potential clients and listen to their horror stories of past contractors. In Texas, it has become a relatively easy business to "casually" take up because there is minimal (if any at all) licensing requirements for a General Home Contractor. More than half of our work is actually fixing jobs that were never not done right, or never even finished. "As a a contractor who was trained in New England, and been in the business for over 35 years, it really frustrates me to see how poorly done sometimes some of these [even] new construction homes are completed. It happens so often that people come to believe that [the incorrect way] is the way it is supposed to be done. So when I come into a job and tell them [the homeowner] it hasn't been built correctly or isn't to code standards they are so shocked and sometimes almost offended that they were lead to believe for so long that was the way it was supposed to be done." says Broadbent.
Lastly, pick someone who is honest with you. Honesty is one of the most important aspect of a project. Even if it means that you might be disappointed in what he will say, make sure your contractor is someone who can bring up potential issues immediately, honestly, and then be able to find all the possibilities to fix the situation. Doug says, "You would much rather tackle an issue head on, then have your contractor hide it from you and find out that it became a much bigger and more expensive issue years down the road."