Top Five Tips in Selecting a Remodeling Contractor

By Luster Custom Homes Posted Friday, April 1st, 2016

Considering a home remodel? Not sure where to start. We often get asked what are the most important qualities to look for when selecting a general contractor. After thinking long and hard, we have compiled a list of helpful tips we think are CRITICAL to ensure the right fit and have a great experience.

  1.  Experience/Reputation and Reviews- We can’t stress this one enough, Do Your Homework! Ensure they have similar experience working on projects similar size and scope of your remodel and ask to speak to former clients of theres. If the contractor isn’t willing to provide that, it’s a Big Red Flag.  The Internet is your Best Friend! Client satisfaction and a quality experience come through in reviews. Many sites like Angie’s List, Houzz and Yelp are good resources to verify your contractor has a solid reputation and past work history.
  1. Make Sure Your Contractor is Licensed, Bonded, Insured and belongs and is active in trade associations. – A contractor with a license and insurance demonstrates credibility and knowledge and minimizes the risk to a homeowner. A licensed contractor reduces the chance of a homeowner getting ripped off. In Arizona alone the state licensing board gets over 12,000 contractor complaints a year. Take a quick moment and verify the contractor your considering not only has a license but doesn’t have any complaints.  A contractor who is active in the building industry whether it be though NAHB, BBB, NARI or local building associations show they care about their community and reputation.
  1. Go with Someone You Trust  – Meeting your contractor face-to-face is important to ensure there is a trust level and you have a good feeling that they will be a fit with your job and expectations. If you get an uneasy feeling about them, it’s probably for a good reason so reconsider moving forward with them for your project.  Listening… we know this is a lost art. However, we think this is one of the most important qualities. Does your contractor ask you questions and listen to YOU? We know from experience that all projects are a little different and clients have different things that are important to them. In order for you to have a Great Experience you need a contractor that can listen and understand what is important to you.
  1. Detailed Scope of Work/ContractA successful project starts with a Clear Goal and a well-defined scope of work. This really helps clearly define what you can expect out of the contract. It’s OK if you don’t have this written out but know you will need to spend the time with your contractor to have this important piece created. The Scope of Work is a formal document that describes the work activities, deliverables, timelines, milestones, pricing, quality requirements and terms and conditions.   The contract sets the expectations upfront and saves the homeowner from the always Dreaded Unexpected Surprises.
  1. Know What You WantSpend some time before selecting a contractor on what your goals are of the project. Are you looking for a small scale or larger scale remodel? Research the type of Look and Feel you are trying to achieve and determine upfront before you meet with a general contractor what your needs are. The resources we recommend are Houzz, Pinterest and Magazines. They have hundreds of thousands of photos and you know what they say…. “A picture tells a thousand words.”


  • May 24, 2016, 6:52 pm

    I definitely think it’s good to know what you want before hiring a remodeling contractor. For example, I want to add an island in my kitchen with specific tile. I need to know that the contractor can do that before I hire them. Great post, thanks!

  • May 26, 2016, 8:36 pm

    Thanks for these great tips on selecting a contractor. I will be needing to find a contractor for my home remodel that I am planning on doing in a few months. I like what you said about looking for a contractor that has really good experience, and a good reputation. I would love to be able to see some of the work that they have done in the past as well. I will also make sure they are licensed and insured. Thanks for the help!

  • August 23, 2016, 2:44 pm

    My wife and I are about to start a home remodeling project, so we definitely want to find a good contractor. We definitely want to have our priorities, as you discussed. But, how can we be sure to be flexible based on what is truly practical or not?

  • August 24, 2016, 2:09 pm

    This is great because I am hoping to find a general contractor for a project soon. I like the idea of knowing the scope of the contractor’s work, as you suggested. Can I see their expertise best by meeting with contractors in person?

    • Luster Custom Homes
      August 25, 2016, 10:04 pm

      Hi! We definitely always encourage an in person meeting to see if it’s a good fit and make sure you have a good comfortable level. Also, always ask for references, any reputable contractor should have no problem providing you with some.

  • September 14, 2016, 1:57 pm

    I like that you mention the importance of choosing someone who has experience. I recently remodeled my home and that was one of the first things I checked when searching for a contractor to do the remodeling. I was so pleased with how it turned out. You can really tell a difference when someone has had a lot of experience. The work just has a little something extra to it I think.

  • October 6, 2016, 8:13 pm

    I love your advice to go with someone you trust. I feel like that also ties in with things like reviews. After all, if someone has a lot of negative reviews, you likely won’t trust them. What other things would your recommend considering when searching for a remodeling contractor?

    • Luster Custom Homes
      October 18, 2016, 10:19 pm

      Reviews are a great way as well as checking with the Better Business Bureau and asking any potential contractor if you can see an example of their work and/or speak with a past client. Also, a detailed scope of work so you know what you are getting is a must.

  • May 15, 2017, 11:19 pm

    I think it is great that you encourage readers to examine their goals and decide on what they want before they go looking for a remodeling contractor. After all, knowing what you want ahead of time will make things a lot easier for the remodeler as well. No contractor wants to constantly have to start over just because you’ve changed your mind about something half-way through the project.

  • March 19, 2018, 12:54 pm

    I was in terrible need of such an article. The house I am living right now, needs an immediate remodeling. Thanks for sharing tips to choose the right remodeling contractor. Keep posting.

  • April 19, 2018, 9:16 pm

    I love that experience made it to the top of your list of things to look for when choosing a home remodeling contractor. After all, if you’re planning a remodel then it is likely that you have some kind of vision in mind. If you want to make sure that the contractor you choose can bring that idea to life, then you need to make sure that they have plenty of experience and skill.