If you’re searching for a contractor to help with your home improvement project, it’s important to make sure you don’t make any of these common mistakes that could lead to costly issues down the road. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when hiring a contractor so you can hire with confidence and have your project done right the first time around.


1) Not Doing Enough Research


Before signing on with a contractor, it’s essential to get as much information as possible about his or her work history and past clients. You can easily gather online reviews of contractors from sources like Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List, plus consumer forums like HomeAdvisor. In addition, check for licenses and memberships in relevant professional associations. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, try to schedule an initial consultation so you can meet face-to-face and make sure you have a great rapport before moving forward. Remember: there are bad apples out there; do yourself a favor by doing your due diligence.


2) Choosing The Wrong Contractor


Hiring a contractor is an important decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Once you decide to go forward with it, take your time vetting several contractors and getting at least three or four bids for your project. This will help you avoid choosing someone unprofessional or overcharging. By thoroughly researching potential contractors before you commit, you’ll increase your chances of finding someone who can efficiently do quality work. If something seems off about any of them, look elsewhere.


3) Not Asking for References

If you’re hiring an individual for home repair or remodeling, one of your most important questions should be: What kind of references do you have? If they say they don’t have any, get up and walk away; if they come up with some names but refuse to provide contact information for those people, get up and walk away. You want to know about their past jobs – what went right and what went wrong. Did they clean up after themselves? Were there issues with customer satisfaction? How did disputes get resolved? Don’t risk getting stuck paying someone who never delivers or does shoddy work. Anyone who is legitimate will be willing to give you references and talk about his past customers. A good contractor will also show a portfolio of work he has done for previous clients so that you can see quality examples before choosing him/her for your project.


4) Failing to Review Proposals in Detail


Keep in mind that there’s an important difference between general contractors and sub-contractors. General contractors are responsible for bringing all of your ideas to life, while subcontractors are hired by general contractors to do specific tasks (i.e., plumbing, flooring, drywall). Before you hire anyone, be sure you review their proposals carefully—and don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything doesn’t make sense. How many years have they been in business? What materials will they use? How much time can you expect them to spend on-site every day? Do they guarantee their work? Be sure you get answers to all of these questions before signing any contracts. If a contractor won’t go into detail about what he or she is going to do, it might be best to walk away. The last thing you want is a ghost contractor who ends up vanishing once you hand over your money.


5) Being Unclear About What You Want and Expect


Before hiring a contractor, be clear about what you want. Make sure you can visualize exactly what you expect from your contractor, down to every last detail. This will help ensure that you hire a competent contractor and stay on good terms throughout the project’s duration. Don’t forget: You get what you pay for. If your budget is tight and you’re looking for low bids, chances are quality work won’t be part of that equation. Use caution when it comes to who you trust with your home or business.   While there are many excellent contractors out there willing to do a fantastic job, there are others not so honest or reliable. Be cautious and have all questions answered upfront. Nothing is as awful as finding out a contractor was dishonest after they’ve already done damage to your home or business, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before signing any contracts!