There are many things you should take into consideration when looking for a contractor. Below I will include a few things that you should look at:
The reason why you should only consider licensed contractors is because they stay current on the changing regulations. They are also required to pass some tests to prove that they are doing so.
This is one of the most important things to ask your potential contractor. Why? Should there be any accident in your home, you areiable if the contractor does not have insurance. Yes, that means shouldering all the expenses. Both people and property are at risk on a job site so you have to make sure that you only hire insured contractors. Any sub-contractor or employee should have active insurance cards. Ask for a copy of the current insurance cards so you can verify that the insurance is sufficient.
-References and Photos
Do not forget to ask for a list of references from any contractor. If they refuse to provide a list then it's time to look for another one. There's no better way in finding out if the contractor is able to do their job successfully than by talking to their previous clients. Talk to at least three references with two of them having the same type of project you are planning. Also, ask for photos of previous work.
People tend to forget about this when they talk to a potential contractor. If you've ever had a remodeling or construction project, you know how messy it can get and cleaning everything up should be the least of your concerns. Bring this up and make it clear that you want them to leave the site cleaned up. In addition to that, try to observe how the contractor handles their equipment and vehicle. Are things clean and neatly arranged? This should be an indication how they will treat your home.
-Contract, Permits, Quoting and Billing System
Everything should be put in writing and if your contractor refuses to do so, walk away immediately. This will be a major problem if you fail to take this step. It's so easy for a contractor to tell you that a certain job is already included only to find out that they will charge you extra for it. You are left with no choice because you are being held host for an uncompleted project.
Permits may cost you a lot of money but trust me, you really need them! The inspection process will protect you from poor workmanship and in making sure that everything is being built according to code.
Lastly, you want the contractor to give you a clear quoting and billing procedure. Everything should be itemized including labor, waste removal, etc.