Finding the Right Contractor

building_contractorWhen building a home on vacant land, selecting a contractor is one of  THE most important decisions that you can make. It is always good to get recommendations from people that you trust. You should check with the better business bureau to see if they have any complaints against them. Once you find a potential contractor here are 10 questions & tips to consider before making the final decision.

 1. Do they have the proper insurance, Workers Compensation, Liability Insurance and are they properly licensed to do business in the state that you are in? Ask to see proof.

2. Will the owner be on site participating in the actual building or are they more of a General Con­tractor (G.C.) who would oversee the job?

3. Do they have full time employees to perform all of the work such as electrical, plumbing, masonry & HVAC or do they sub-contract it out? Sub-contractors are independent companies hired by the General Con­tractor to work on specific details of the project.

4. If they do use sub-contractors, get their names and contact information. You should research sub-contractors the same as you would the general contractor. Are the sub-contractors also licensed & insured?

5. You should ask for referrals. Speak to both current & past customers. Ask if the builder kept the project within their budget and on time.

6. Does the contractor have access to equipment that they will need to unload delivery trucks at the home site? Having an off-road forklift is helpful for moving materials from the truck to the site, especially if your site is remotely located or difficult for tractor trailers to access.

7. When initially contacting the contractor, how well did they follow up? If they are hard to reach when they are soliciting your business, they will probably be harder to reach once they have your money. Did they return your calls and/or e-mails in a timely fashion? Did they answer your questions to your satisfaction?

8. You should request a visit to a job site in progress. Check to see if it organized and neat? Are mate­rials not being used properly stored under cover?

9. Ask if they have experience with log and/or timber frame homes (if applicable)? Log and timber homes require slightly different home building techniques than stick-built or modular homes.

10. Ask the contractor how they feel about “sweat equity”, where the homeowner gets involved helping, usually in small jobs like paint­ing, staining, cleaning up the job site, etc…) Homeowners who help with small jobs on site can potentially save thousands of dollars since the contractor doesn’t have to hire people for those tasks.

 These are just a few of things to think about BEFORE hiring a contractor to build your dream house. Once you think that you have found a qualified contractor, use some on the many online resources (such as or to confirm your selection. Happy building!building-system-1

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3 Responses to “Finding the Right Contractor”

  • Thank you for all this great information on contractors. It makes a lot of sense that you should find and talk to current and past customers to find out about their quality of work. I know that If I was hiring a contractor, I would want to know if they are doing a good job in other places.

  • My husband and I are currently searching for a general contractor to help us build our dream home. Thank you for suggesting that we should make sure the contractor we hire has all of the needed equipment. I’ll have to do some research and see if I can find the most qualified contractor in my area.

  • I think talking to past customers is the best way to see how a builder actually works. They were in the same position that you are in now. They’ll be more honest about how the contractor really is than anyone else.

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