Are you looking for a building contractor? If you are building a new home, you can’t trust just any contractor to provide the best services for your needs. Here’s some tips for screening candidates.

Get Recommendations

Before you go out looking for contractors, ask for recommendations from friends and family. If you’ve been admiring your friend or family member’s new house, asking about their experience can help you get similar results for yourself. Checking out review sites on the internet can help, too, although keep in mind that people are more likely to complain than sing praise on such sites.

Conduct Interviews

After you’ve developed a list of potential contractors, get them on the phone and ask some questions about what you have in mind. Can they handle the size of your project? How many other projects do they anticipate having at the same time? How long does the average build take?

Evaluate the answers to narrow the list down to a few contractors. Then, call them again or meet in-person for a more in-depth interview. This time, discuss on project estimates, timelines, and construction requirements. Also, ask if you can look at a sample of their contract.

Conduct a Thorough Investigation

With the facts you have from the interview, it’s time to dig deeper to find out more about the contractors. Call up former clients and inquire how the project went. Ask if the project was finished on time, whether the customer was satisfied, and if they would recommend the contractor.

Get Bids

Invite proposals from the few contractors you’ve found with have a clean track record. Let the contractors break down the costs of material, labor, and other expenses. This way, you can analyze the bids and evaluate what works for you. Keep in mind that you will get what you pay for; the cheapest bids often use poorer quality materials and may not be as thorough or detail-oriented in their work.

Plan on Payments

Lay out your payment plan to evaluate which contractor works best with your plan. If they ask for a large bid at the beginning, they could be having a financial problem which may affect their service delivery. Don’t let prices drive you to low-bid contractors. Most importantly, find one that you can comfortably communicate with so they will have a full understanding of your needs.

Set Up the Contract

Consider the law and put everything in writing. From the start date, payment schedule, to proof of liability insurance and expected completion date. Also, ensure the contractor obtains lien releases from suppliers and subcontractors, which will protect you in case of defaults on payments.

Write it Down

Through the process of building your home, document every decision that is made from start to finish in paper. It may seem redundant, but sometimes mistakes are made. If there is a mistake, having the original intentions dated and in writing can help you make sure the contractor corrects their mistake. In a worst case scenario, documentation can be a winning tool if you have to take the contractor to court.


As building your own house progresses from dreams to reality, don’t let your head get stuck in the clouds. Choose a contractor who can complete your project on time and deliver the best results. And don’t forget to get everything down on paper and maintain constant communication with your contractor until — and even after — project completion.

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