How To Hire A Contractor To Build Your Custom Home in Northern Ohio

Erie-County-Home-BuilderBuilding a New Home, or doing a Home Remodeling project should be a rewarding process. However, many times this is not the case. This is generally a result of hiring unqualified contractor. The most important part of building your new home or doing a home remodeling project is hiring a reputable contractor to do the job. We have put together some key points that you the “homeowner” should consider before hiring your contractor.


  • Consider, and Personally Meet with Several Contractors. During your meeting make sure you get the following information:
    • How long have you been in business?
    • Are you a Licensed Contractor? What City are you licensed in? Make sure the contractor meets all local licensing, and bonding requirements.
    • Ask for proof of liability insurance against workers compensations claims, property damages, personal liability.
    • Ask for local business references including his local bank to verify that he is in good standing, and has a good track record.
    • Who will be working on my house? Find out who the contractors sub-trades are. (A good contractor will be able to tell you exactly who their sub-contractors are.) This shows that a qualified contractor has a track record with his sub-trades and is not in the business of shopping your home after you have signed a contract in order to find the lowest bid from numerous sub-trades that may not be qualified.
    • Do you have Job Site Visitation Limitations? (A good contractor will welcome you to the job site anytime, announced, or unannounced. “It’s your investment you should be able to visit whenever you want.”
  • Get written proposals from several contractors: Make sure these bids all meet the same requirements for your project. (This means that you are comparing Apples to Apples, and not Apples to Oranges) There is nothing wrong with going with the lowest bid, but beware the lowest bidder, may not truly be the lowest bid. There could be a big difference between contractors that gives you a vague page, proposal versus a contractor that submitted a detailed page by page proposal. The problem is that most people simply read the price instead of researching the proposal to make sure they are getting exactly what they want. Here are a few examples of things you should compare on your proposals:
    • What are the allowances are they comparable? (If there are No Allowances, this should raise a Red Flag)
    • How much time is allowed for the project?
    • Brand Names: What are the brand names of the Windows, Doors, etc? Are these the same products?
    • How much limestone is going around my foundation? Is my garage being backfilled with limestone, or dirt? (This is just a few of the many scenarios where you may not be getting what you are paying for. This is why it is so important to get a detailed proposal.)
  • Get Referrals: (This is the most important part of qualifying your contractor) what does this mean? Don’t just ask a contractor for referrals, he will give you a list of only previous customers that he wants you to have. Instead, ask the contractor where their current job is, where their previous job was, and where their job was before that? These are the referrals that you want to talk to when considering a contractor. Here is a list of a few very important questions you should always ask when checking these referrals:
    • How punctual was your contractor? Did he answer, or return your phone calls quickly? Was he a good communicator? Are you satisfied with your new home, or remodeling project?
    • Do you feel your project was well planned, and organized? Did your project run smoothly through all phases of construction? Did the job sit idle at any point?
    • Did your contractor keep the job-site clean? Did you ever have to pick up after your contractor? At any point were you unhappy with how the job-site was maintained?
    • Did you notice a change in your contractor’s attitude after you signed your contract?
    • Where there any overcharges that were never approved by you? (A good contractor should always inform you of your options, and get your approval and give you an overrun / credit sheet that matches his overrun / credit sheet.)

There are many different variables, and scenarios that can play a role in finding a good contractor for your project. However, following the basic guidelines we have provided will assure that you are hiring a reputable contractor in your area. Finding a good contractor to build your new home, or home remodeling project will provide an enjoyable process that will give you ongoing satisfaction for years to come.


We welcome you to share your questions, thoughts, ideas, and experience on how to find a great contractor.