How to Find a Contractor

Start by getting recommendations
Ask friends and neighbors for firms they've used and liked. If you already have a construction lender, inquire about which builders have good track records. If you're working with an architect, he or she might work regularly with a particular general contractor. Local building associations will offer a list of members in good standing, or you can get names from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (nari.org). Be cautious about Web searches: Some online directories are paid listings.
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Once you have a list of possibilities, call each one
A distressing number will probably fail to return your phone call promptly. If a former customer sent you, say so — contractors often respond better to referrals. Some will be too busy or will decline for other reasons, but after this initial sorting, you should have at least four willing to bid.

Don't just take the lowest bid
Advises TOH general contractor Tom Silva. "Visit each contractor's current job site to see how he or she works. Check for quality, neatness, and professionalism. Look at tools, materials, even the trailer. You can tell a lot about how a person works by how organized their trailer is."

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