How to Find a Good Local Contractor

Finding the right contractor can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure where to start. With so many contractors available, it’s important to know how to vet them properly to ensure that you’re hiring someone reliable and trustworthy. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the best ways to find a good local contractor, how to vet them, the red and green flags to look out for, and considerations to keep in mind before hiring a contractor. 

Whether you’re looking for a contractor for a small home improvement project or a large renovation, this guide will help you find the right contractor for your needs.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, or San Diego with reliable residential contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about planning for a residential renovation – here’s everything you need to know to find the best general contractors in Los Angeles.

orange helmet construction local contractor worker

Best ways to find a good local contractor

If you’re looking for a good local contractor, there are several avenues you have available to you to find options. These include:

  • Referrals – Ask friends, family, and colleagues if they have any recommendations for a good local contractor. Word-of-mouth referrals can be very helpful in finding a trustworthy and reliable contractor.
  • Local home improvement storesHome Depot, Lowe’s, and other home improvement stores usually have a bulletin board where contractors can post business cards and flyers. You can also ask the store employees if they can recommend any contractors.
  • Local Chamber of Commerce – Your local Chamber of Commerce can be a great resource for finding local contractors. They often have a directory of local businesses, including contractors.
  • GreatBuildz – Skip the tedium of searching for a local contractor. Let GreatBuildz take over the process for you. Just share your needs to be matched with a pre-vetted contractor in your area.

Can you really find a good local contractor online?

typing on laptop

Finding a contractor online is definitely the most convenient option, but is it a reliable one? The answer is a resounding yes. People find success every day discovering reputable contractors on the internet. It just takes some diligent vetting, as well as awareness of the risks you might be facing. 

Here are some risks to look out for when searching for a contractor online:

  • Scams – There are many home improvement scams out there, where fake contractors may ask for an upfront payment and then disappear. Always make sure to verify the contractor’s credentials and check their references before hiring them.
  • Misrepresentations – Some contractors may misrepresent their experience or qualifications online. Always verify their credentials and ask for references to ensure they have the necessary skills and experience for your project.
  • Hidden fees – Some contractors may offer a low initial quote but then add on additional fees and charges throughout the project. Make sure to get a detailed estimate in writing before hiring a contractor, and clarify any additional fees upfront.

How to vet a local contractor

Vetting a local contractor is an important step in the hiring process, as it helps ensure that you’re hiring someone reliable, skilled, and trustworthy. Here are some steps to take when vetting a local contractor:

  • Check their credentials – Verify that the contractor has a valid license, insurance, and bonding. You can check their credentials with your state’s licensing board or contractor registry.
  • Read reviews and references – Look for reviews and references from previous clients. You can find reviews on websites such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Ask the contractor for references and follow up with them to get a better understanding of the contractor’s work quality and professionalism.
  • Check their portfolio – Ask the contractor for a portfolio of their previous work, and make sure it aligns with your project’s scope and requirements. This will give you an idea of their style and quality of work.
  • Interview the contractor – Schedule a meeting with the contractor to discuss your project in detail. Ask questions about their experience, timeline, and pricing, and see how well they communicate and answer your questions.

construction worker structure

What to look for in a good local contractor

When you know what to look for, it’s easy to tell the difference between a great, experienced local contractor that you can trust and one that you should probably pass on. Some green flags for local contractors include:

  • Experience – Look for a contractor with years of experience in your specific type of project. Experienced contractors are better equipped to handle unexpected challenges that may arise during the project.
  • Good communication skills – A good contractor should be able to communicate clearly and effectively with you throughout the project, keeping you updated on progress, any changes in the timeline, and any issues that may arise.
  • Good reputation – Look for a contractor with a good reputation in your local community. Check online reviews and ask for references from previous clients.
  • Professionalism – Look for a contractor who is professional in their approach to the project, including showing up on time, keeping the work area clean, and being respectful of your home and property.
  • Quality of work – Ask to see examples of the contractor’s previous work, and make sure it meets your expectations in terms of quality and attention to detail.

signing documents contract

Related: How to Stay Within Budget When Renovating Your Home

Red flags to watch out for

On the other hand, here are some red flags you should be aware of that may signal an unreliable contractor. 

  • High-pressure sales tactics – Beware of contractors who use high-pressure sales tactics to push you into signing a contract quickly. A reputable contractor will give you time to review the contract and make an informed decision.
  • Unwillingness to provide a written contract – Always ask for a written contract before starting any work. If a contractor is unwilling to provide one, it could be a sign that they are not trustworthy or reliable.
  • Low estimate – Be wary of contractors who offer a significantly lower remodeling estimate than other contractors. This could be a sign that they plan to cut corners or use lower-quality materials to save costs.
  • Lack of transparency – If a contractor is not transparent about their pricing, materials, or timeline, it could be a sign of dishonesty or lack of experience.

Considerations before hiring a local contractor 

Finally, let’s discuss some things that you should keep in mind before hiring a local contractor.

  • Know your project scope and budget – Before you choose a contractor, you should have a clear idea of your project’s scope and budget. This will help you communicate your needs and expectations to the contractor, and ensure that you can afford the project.
  • Schedule a consultation – Schedule a consultation with each potential contractor to discuss your project in detail. Ask questions about their experience, timeline, and pricing, and see how well they communicate and answer your questions.
  • Request a detailed estimate – Ask each contractor to provide a detailed estimate of the project’s scope, timeline, and pricing. Make sure the estimate includes all costs, including materials and labor.
  • Review the contract – Before signing a contract, make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions, including payment schedules and any warranties or guarantees. If you have any questions or concerns, ask the contractor to clarify.

Finding the best local contractor can be an extensive process. Let GreatBuildz take it off your hands. We’ll help you find a reliable contractor in the Los Angeles, Southern California, Orange County, and Ventura County areas who you can trust with your project. Contact us today at (818.317.3567) or visit our website to learn more.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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