Almost inherently, finding a contractor means scouring through dozens of companies to separate the good ones from the bad ones. Like mechanics, there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there just waiting to take advantage of the layman's general lack of knowledge in their chosen field. Because many people have no idea what the difference is between a good one and a bad one, many of these companies can grow and continue to be very successful without ever being called out. This is what makes it challenging to find the one that will do a great job on your upcoming project. However, there are some ways to tell. Here are some of the qualities to look for and the ones to avoid.
Watch out for the contractor who does not want to put anything in writing. While this is not unscrupulous in and of itself (some people simply come from a different school of doing things), it's not a great way to get started. Insist on having everything in writing and keep a duplicate copy of the contract. If things go sour or they want to charge you more than you agreed to, all you have to do is pull out the paperwork.
If a contractor tries to convince you that cutting corners is the way to save money on your job, run the other way. Permits and other safety procedures are not only the law, they are put in place to protect the consumer. That's you. You do not want to save a few bucks on your building materials only for the city to come along a few months later and tell you that you have to tear it down.
Avoid any company that wants to charge you up front. In fact, make it a personal policy that you will not part with a single dollar until the job is done to your satisfaction. If you have to go through a few companies before you find one that agrees with that policy, so be it. You'll be the one that has the peace of mind.
Of course, there are some great companies out there. You'll know almost immediately when you've come across a competent and professional contractor. They'll be more than ready to show you their proof of insurance and their license. They'll also refer you to previous jobs they've done. Many customers are happy to show off their new installations, especially if they're pleased with the work. The professional will not only be happy to work with a written contract, they'll insist on it for their protection as well as yours. You may also notice that they are in high demand. Quality work and professionalism go a long way towards success.