How to Hire an Honest Contractor

So you're ready to rejuvenate your home, but how do you find a remodeler you can trust? Hiring a building professional is a big step, and you want to make sure you choose carefully. After all, hiring a a fly-by-night contractor can be a disaster. Follow these simple steps to ensure you hire a reputable professional.

Price and payment

  • Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should not be told that you need to sign a contract that day or risk a price increase. 
  • Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is common; however, you should not be asked to pay the full cost in advance, before work begins.   
  • Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order or credit card to a company.


  • Confirm that the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for his business. 
  • Check the Better Business Bureau,, to ensure the business doesn’t have any unresolved complaints. 
  • Ask the contractor for references for past work and be sure the references can be reached.
  • Check out the business on consumer review sites such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, etc. Remember, it’s important to take the good with the bad when reading online reviews. 

Contract and completion

  • Be cautious of anyone that tells you that “a contract won’t be necessary.” Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor. 
  • Ensure that the final payment is not due until the job is completely finished and you are fully satisfied with it. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, and make sure that is done and you have paperwork to prove it before you make the final payment. 

Check out examples of past work

  • One of the best ways to judge a contractor is to let his or her work speak for itself. Try to see a contractor's completed projects in person or, if that's not possible, in photos. Going on the Remodeled Homes Tour, October 8-9, 2016, is an easy way to check out many contractors' projects.

Start with Master Builders Association members

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties is the oldest and largest homebuilders association in the United States. Our member companies are involved in every facet of the homebuilding industry and they participate in continuing education to assure the highest standards of building practices, as well as safety on the job for their employees. All of our contractor members are registered, offer a minimum one-year warranty and are bonded and insured. View our member directory.

Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a reliable contractor with an established business in our community, contact the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties