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It may not seem easy to find the right contractor for your home improvement project, but with the aid of this guide it should hopefully be a tiny bit easier.

No matter if they will be helping you build your dream home or change the floor that may be long overdue, there are certain things you need to be aware of. In addition to this, a contractor will often work with subcontractors that will also be going in and out of your home. This is why it’s extremely important to trust the company you end up hiring for the project.

Not only is a matter of trust, but hiring the wrong one for the project may end up costing you a lot of money, increasing the importance of proper screening. By screening them, you will hopefully end up trusting the chosen one.

two people shaking hands

The company you hire will serve many different roles. Not only will they be building whatever it is you want to have built, but they may also act as consultants along the way. Before you hire, there will be a lot of questions you need to ask, as well as other things you need to look into before you choose.

Some of The Things to Look Out For

Certain types of home improvement projects will require that the pro has valid licenses for the things they will be doing to ensure both the safety, but also that the project lives up to the different building codes. When you’re hiring anyone for a home improvement project, it is your responsibility to find out whether or not your pro needs a license for the specific job, but also to make sure that the person you hire is in fact licensed. If you do not do this, you stand at the risk of getting fined. Generally, these are the types of jobs that require a license, but at the end of the day you need to check what your state’s requirements are:

  • Residential and commercial contracting
  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • Gas
  • Asbestos

When you have found whether or not your contractor needs a license for the project, be sure to check its validity with the links below. The star-marked states do not have one specific website to check the licenses but must still be verified. Local builders’ associations can help you should you have additional questions.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas* Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri*
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York* North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania* Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota* Tennessee Texas* Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington Washington DC* West Virginia Wisconsin


man holding hands over a family

After checking out the validity of the license, it’s important to verify the insurance coverage to protect yourself and your home in case an accident happens on the job. The company should have the three following types of insurance:

  • Liability
  • Property
  • Workers’ compensation

All three types of insurance should run for the entire length of the contract.

Checking references

When interviewing contractors, ask them for previous references, and call these up to hear what their experience was dealing with the given company. How did they perform in terms of professionalism, timeliness, and did they stay on budget? What was their overall experience of working with them?


If your contractor will be hiring subcontractors, it is very important that these live up to the same standards as the contractor you will be hiring, and you should do all the same checks on these.

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