How To Choose A Good Contractor

If you’re considering a construction or home renovation project, choosing a good contractor is imperative. 

Building projects are intensive, but a skilled contractor can make the process easier. From helping you lay out all the expenses to overseeing the building process, a good contractor can help you achieve the construction results you’ve dreamed of. 


If you’re wondering how to choose a good contractor, you’ll need to assess what your construction project involves, research different contractors, and look into the team the contractor hires for projects. 

We’ll cover the factors to consider when choosing a contractor below, as well as signs that you may have hired a less than qualified, ‘cowboy’ contractor. 

1. Evaluate Your Project Needs

You’ll need to evaluate your project needs before choosing a good contractor. For instance, contractors who focus on bathroom renovation may not have experience creating loft conversions or attic extensions. 

Think about your home’s square footage, as this will help you work out how large the rooms you need renovating will be. Note down any specific needs for each room and make sure your quotation references them later. 

If you’re renovating with a partner, make sure you have several conversations beforehand to ensure you’re on the same page. Outline what you want before you make contact with the contractor, instead of uncomfortable questions during your first meeting. 

Once you’ve laid out your project needs, you’ll have a better idea of how to assess whether the contractor is a good fit for your project. 

If you’re renovating with a partner, make sure you have several conversations beforehand to ensure you’re on the same page.

2. Research Contractors Through Several Platforms

If you’re looking for a contractor, you’ll probably search online or look through social media for reviews. 

Instead of simply researching contractors’ websites online, take a look at their Google reviews through Google Maps. It’s harder for people to fake feedback through Google reviews, so look at the contractor’s star rating and reviews from previous clients to get an idea of what their services are like. 

You can also view reviews on Facebook, through community groups in your area that recommend certain individuals. 

Look for local forums and double-check your sources. You want to make sure that these reviews are from people who have used the contractor’s services in the past, instead of someone simply recommending their children or spouse. 

By the same token, take care when looking at contractors on trade review websites. Contractors are paying for these profiles, so the websites are helping those who are paying to be on their websites, instead of focusing on the best talent. 

Contractors can easily fake feedback and testimonials on these, so it’s best to use trade review websites for guidance, instead of searching for reputable contractor services. 

You want to make sure that these reviews are from people who have used the contractor’s services in the past.

3. Look For Accredited Contractors

Contractors aren’t legally required to possess qualifications, but there are programs which can help contractors prove their skills. 

One example is the TrustMark accreditation. The government introduced the TrustMark scheme in 2006 and it is still the only government-endorsed, not-for-profit, quality scheme. 

Contractors who have the TrustMark accreditation need to follow the ‘Framework Operating Requirements for Scheme Providers’. This ensures anyone who uses TrustMark contractors receives strong protection inside the housing industry. 

Another example of is The Federation of Master Builders, known as the FMB. Builders who have this qualification have to obey the FMB Code Of Conduct, which contains rules that help UK homeowners avoid poor building practices. 

Choosing contractors with accreditations ensures you can have greater confidence in the reliability and quality of the project work they carry out, as they assure the contractor follows strict industry standards and best practices. 

4. Look Into Contractor References

Your hire may have an accreditation, but references ensure you’re hiring a truly qualified operator. This is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a contractor. 

If you’ve received any references from others concerning contractors, ask them questions to assess quality, punctuality, and whether they will carry out reliable construction work

Examples include:

  • What kind of work did the contractor carry out for you?
  • Did the contractor show up promptly?
  • Did the contractor deliver results on time and within price range?
  • Were you satisfied with the results?
  • Were they pleasant and responsive?
  • Did you experience any issues working with them? What were they?
  • Would you hire the contractor again? 

Keep your questions as specific as possible, as this helps you get a better idea of what the contractor is like. If a contractor you’re looking into is reluctant to put you in touch with their previous clients, look for others, as this can be a sign of unreliability.  

If you’ve received references from others concerning contractors, ask them questions to assess quality, punctuality, and whether they will carry out reliable construction work

5. Lay Out A Written Contract

After you agree on a start date and price with your contractor, always lay out a written contract. Contracts can help you when choosing a good contractor, as they ensure that the contractor is held to account and that they carry out work to their best ability. 

Check that you understand everything within the document before you agree. Look for professional help if you are unclear about anything. 

Aim to get as much information as you can in writing, such as:

  • What the quotation specifically includes.
  • The exact date will commence and the length of time it will take. 
  • Safety arrangements the contractor will make as the project begins.  
  • Any payments you are expected to make before work finishes.
  • The basis on which you will agree to any price increases.
  • Ensuring your contractor has up-to-date public liability insurance. 

Contractors that do not supply contracts can be red flags in terms of their reliability, though you can draw up a contract yourself. 

Before the project begins, remember to agree to withhold final payments until you are completely satisfied that the project is complete, ensuring the Building Control Surveyor for your Local Authority has released the necessary Completion Certificate. 

Do not let your contractor begin work without receiving all the required approvals from your local authority’s Planning and Building Control. Make sure that any conditions related to these approvals are addressed before the project begins. 

Contracts ensure that the contractor is held to account and that they carry out work to their best ability. 

Signs of A Cowboy Contractor

Now that you know more about how to choose a good contractor, here are signs of less experienced, ‘cowboy’ contractors, so you can avoid hiring them in the future.  

1. They Require Quick Payment

Though most goods we buy require payment before we receive them, intensive project work is a time-consuming, valuable investment. You should be happy with your construction project results before handing over most of your money. 

If your contractor is asking for payment upfront or pestering for payment strangely, you may need to backtrack and review other options. 

2. Reliability

Another red flag is if you’ve agreed to a time and date for when your projects should be completed, but your contractor arrives late, or disappears for ages to ‘pick up some tools’. 

You run the risk of the contractor never coming back, leaving work unfinished. This isn’t just frustrating, it’s a safety hazard for those living within the building. 

3. They Push For More Work

Your contractor may finish the project, but they may attempt to get more work from you, claiming that there are more serious issues that need to be fixed immediately. 

You should never feel pressured for additional work. A contractor or construction company should carry out the job that they are hired to do at an excellent standard, instead of pushing for more. 

There we go! We hope this post helped answer how to choose a good contractor, as well as some signs of cowboy contractors, so you can avoid their services in the future. 

How We Can Help

At Rose Line Premier, we have over a decade of experience in the construction industry. Our team of skilled planners, surveyors, and project managers work on practical budgets and time scales to deliver high-end refurbishments.  

We believe that all projects are unique, working with you to achieve results that meet your requirements and dream vision. 

If you’re considering a renovation or construction project, get in touch with us to chat about your ideas. For more design and construction tips and tricks, check out our blog.