Tips on Choosing a Contractor

If you’re in the market for a new home or thinking of remodeling, there are some important points to consider to assure the best results. On this page, we’ll provide you with choosing a contractor tips on:

  • Finding a Contractor
  • Comparing Costs
  • Signing the Contract

Finding a Contractor
Your home is too important to entrust it to anyone but a professional. We recommend that you:

  • Seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others.
  • Visit with your lender and local trade association, Home Builders Association of Lincoln.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make sure the contractor has Workers Comp and liability insurance.

You should ask for a list of names and phone numbers of their previous clients who would be willing to talk with you. Questions you might ask include:

  • Are you happy with the work?
  • Did the builder/remodeler do what was promised in a timely manner and within the agreed-upon budget?
  • Would you hire this builder/remodeler again?

If the builder or remodeler has an open house, visit the home and spend time looking at the workmanship including cabinetry, trimwork, paint and carpeting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Comparing Costs
You should always get a least two or three bids from prospective contractors based on the same building specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project.

Keep in mind: Just because a project is less expensive does not mean it’s a better value. Likewise, a more expensive bid does not automatically assure higher quality.

Signing the Contract
Find out whether the contractor uses a detailed written contract that protects both of you from any misunderstandings. A written contract must spell out the work that will be performed:

  • It should specify all materials to be used in terms of quality, quantity, color, size and/or brand name.
  • A payment schedule should also be established. On home remodeling projects, you should expect to make a down payment representing approximately one-third of the total contract price. Excluding the down payment, you should not make payment for any incomplete work. All of these terms should be spelled out in the contract and clearly understood by both you and the remodeler/builder.
  • The contract with your builder or remodeler should state that the work is to be performed in accordance with all applicable building codes and zoning regulations. If you are remodeling, check with the Building & Safety Dept. to find out what permits are needed to proceed with your project.
  • Do not sign a partial or blank contract! Read each clause carefully and ask any questions you may have before signing. Then, retain a copy of the contract as soon as you sign and file it in your records.
  • Any warranty (including terms, conditions and oral promises) offered by the contractor should be in writing in language you can understand. You should read it carefully. Make sure the written contract includes: the contractor’s full name, address, telephone number and proof of Workers Comp and liability insurance.

For More Information…

Better Business Bureau
Phone: (402) 436-2345

Building & Safety Department (Permits)
Phone: (402) 441-7521