How to Find a Contractor You Can Trust

You absolutely need the best contractor or your home remodel will quickly find itself underwater. Trouble is, finding a good contractor can be very difficult and requires time, patience, and experience to recognize when you have located someone reliable. Real estate investors have discovered the hard way the unreliability of contractors, so it is important to understand where to begin looking for someone to help you renovate your real estate investment properties. Below are ten tried and tested strategies for finding the best contractor near you.

1. Ask Friends

One easy way to find a reliable contractor is to ask your friends. Take a little time to make a list of people you know who’ve had some work done recently. Chances are, you know at least a few. Homeowners will almost always have a list of contractors they love, and they love sharing.

2. Talk to Suppliers

When looking for a contractor you can trust, two big factors are volume and age of business. It’s tough for a contractor who does shoddy work to stay in business, and those who turn around a lot of jobs are generally competent. That’s why asking local suppliers is a great way to find a good contractor. Ask at plumbing and electrical stores as well as big box stores. Find out who’s been around the longest and who does the most business at each store.

3. Use Facebook

We said above that asking friends is a good way to find a contractor. Sometimes though, we don’t know the best person to ask. Try giving a shout-out on Facebook. People love to share their horror stories and success stories, so a general casting call like this will almost always yield a wealth of solid info.

4. Ask the Fix-and-Flip Pros

Possibly the best way to find a reliable contractor is to ask a real estate pro. Do a search for local real estate investment companies and make a few calls to see who they use and trust. You can also ask a private lender, since they’ll deal with many real estate investors in your area.

5. Find a Good Home Inspector First

Local home inspectors and building inspectors almost always know the most reliable contractors in their areas. Partner with a good inspector and then pick his or her brain to source cabinet installers, door hangers, electricians, plumbers and other contractors.

6. Ask Other Contractors You Already Trust

Do you have a good electrician? Chances are excellent he knows a good plumber, framer, and so on. Talk to vendors you already know to find other reliable contractors.

7. Check with NARI

Another way to find a good contractor is to start with NARI, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. This nonprofit keeps a handy searchable list of member contractors, including everything from bricklayers to drywallers to plumbers to roofers.

8. Use the BBB

You know to use the BBB to check up on a business, but did you know you can also use it to find contractors? Try this: Visit BBB.org. In the “Find a” box, enter whatever type of contractor you’re looking for (plumber, electrician, etc.). Next, in the “Near” box, type your town. The site returns a list of contractors near you, along with each one’s BBB trust score on a scale of A+ to F.

9. Check Online Reviews

Yelp, Angie’s List and other online rating services are a great way to find trustworthy contractors. Online reviews tend to skew a little negative, but a contractor with a few bad ratings will almost always be a better choice than one with hundreds.

10. Check Your State’s Registry

This method work best once you’ve already found a contractor. Check your state’s registry to make sure the contractor’s licenses are up to date. Just visit USA.gov and do a search for “find a contractor” and your state’s name.