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Mistakes to avoid when hiring a contractor

Hiring a contractor

We hear it all the time.  A home or business owner has a really bad experience with a contractor in either concerns of poor quality/workmanship, not doing what they say they are going to do and ultimately, thinking that all contractors are the same. Part of our core values is to do the right thing and help to educate as many individuals as possible to have a great experience with their home improvement project. 

Whether it is time to replace your roof, do a kitchen or bathroom remodel, update your curb appeal or any other construction project for that matter, it is important to choose the right contractor for the job. From my experience directly in our industry (roofing), there are many individuals who call themselves professionals. But, many of these contractors are either “fly-by-night” contractors, or contractors that have no experience dealing with roofing and insurance claim projects. Causing once again, that homeowner to have an unpleasant experience.

Big question: What are the common mistakes and what can you do?

When choosing a contractor, we highly recommend you avoid these common mistakes that homeowners make:


Not Hiring A Specialist

In all industries, there are specialists and unfortunately generalists! Let’s say you have a problem with your tooth, you don’t go to multiple dentists to get “bids,” you go to one specialist to get the work done. The same goes for the home improvement/contracting industry. You want to find a specialist who focuses a majority of their time and attention on their “bread and butter” meaning they are experts in that type of work. In our industry (roofing and insurance restoration), there are many companies across the Inland Northwest to choose from, but unfortunately, they do not specialize in insurance restoration.

Not Doing Their Research On The Contractor 

This is HUGE! Property owners must do research on the contractor they want to hire. Here are two things you should look for:

  •  Customer Reviews: Check the contractor’s website, social media, and the Better Business Bureau. If they do not have those outlets, RED FLAG. They are probably hiding something. 
  • References: Ask the contractor for local references! The contractor should be able to provide you a list of past clients to give their testimonials. 

Hiring An Unlicensed, Unregistered, And Uninsured Contractor

You must make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured! All contractors should be able to provide you with this documentation. If they can’t, MAJOR RED FLAG! If you hire a contractor without the correct insurance, you put yourself at an extremely high risk of being held responsible for your home if something happens during your home project! Things happen, be prepared and be protected.

Not Hiring A Local Contractor 

 Find a LOCAL pro in your area! Not only does this contractor work in your direct community, but they give back to that same community. As Inland Northwest residents, we love where we live and work and are involved in associations like the Spokane Home Builders Association and the Northern Idaho Building Contractors Association

Not Looking For Manufacturers Designation

Manufacturer designations are considered badges of honor. These designations require a contractor to uphold very high standards. They are the Mavericks of their flight school.  The Best of the Best.  For example, in our industry companies like Malarkey Roofing Products enforce strict guidelines to become a Malarkey Emerald Premium Contractor and we are the only contractor in the Inland Northwest to have this. This allows us to provide an extended manufacturer-backed warranty both on labor and materials.

Not Asking About Product Options

With any building materials, there are different levels of quality. It is so important that you understand and find a contractor that focuses on quality products (and of course, quality installation). Within our industry, asphalt shingles are 95% of what homeowners have on their home and not all are the same. 

In the end, choosing the right contractor can make or break your home improvement project and unfortunately, your bank account! Don’t make these same mistakes.

Not Knowing What You Sign

Some may be wary in signing an agreement with a contractor but this is the only instrument that binds that contractor to what they say they are going to do on your project. When you are evaluating your proposal/bid from your contractor (which can be confusing and difficult to navigate), you should look at these elements:

  • Costs
  • Inclusions & Exclusions
  • Materials Breakdown
  • Permitting Fees
  • Warranty Terms

Contrary to popular belief, in our world, the idea of getting multiple proposals/bids is actually very unnecessary. 


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