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Question DetailsAsked on 11/10/2011

How do I find a local contractor without having to search through hundreds to find my local area. I need a comany that does remodeling

When I type in remodeling I get a list of people that do it all over the state of MA. I want to narrow the list to my local area. I need someone that can do an addition and put a room over my garage

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2 Answers


You should consider using a professional project manager, like a licensed architect.

As you have said, the list of contractors is long, and each one typically does only a few types of construction well. Other contractors use subs, so their work may be good with one crew and horrific with another. Trying to figure out who is the best, most trustworthy, etc is no small task.

The benefit of working with a licensed architect, especially one that has facilities management or construction management experience, is they will be able to not only recommend contractors they have worked with in the past, but they will be able to oversee the work to ensure the permits are up-to-date, work is on par and code compliant.

Having a professional project manager allows for invoices to be reviewed for accuracy, allows for the project manager to suggest withholding payments for non-compliant work, and protects you and the contractor from any miscommunications or payment misunderstandings.

You also have the benefit of a design professional who can help you not only utilize the space you have to add and remodel, but also recommend cost savings in materials, procedures and work. Also, due to the fire hazard and transfer hazards associated with a garage, you'll have peace of mind knowing that the room over the garage is safely constructed.

The cost of the archtiect is often returned in savings from efficient design, peace of mind of not having to be an expert in the trades, and when problems arise during construction (they always do).

If you decide to still try going directly through the contractor without professional help; do look the busines up with your local Small Business Association as well as the Better Business Bureau. Any contractor that requires you to apply for your own permits should be viewed with concern; the contractor should be responsible for all work, but as the owner you are responsible for them doing all required paperwork. You also want to ensure that the contractor you speak with will be the actual person doing the work; and if they are not, you should meet the person who will be in your house and running the crew. You should get a list of subcontractors who are going to be employed and in your house.

Confirm that the contractor and business are insured and bonded; and confirm that the business has been in business for awhile under the same owner. (In our area the builders sell the same businesses to each other, so a different owner with a company that has been around for years--they don't have to honor the warranties, can't be sued by former owner's clients, but still get to say the business has been operating since 1980, etc. And the former owner is still operating, but under another business they bought started back in the early 1990s, etc.)

Make sure when you sign a contract (your architect would help with this) it clearly states the work to be done, the sub contractors to be used, a start date and an end date. Ensure the contract has provisions for how disputes for amounts, work and changes are to be handled. Make sure that only written changes signed by both the owner and contractor are allowed; no verbal, email or txt changes.

You also will need to ensure that the contractor is paying his subs. You can do this through liens; you hold a certain amount of the project until all subs turn in a signed lien waiver stating they have been paid in full. This prevents a sub from coming back two months after your project is complete and asking you to pay because the contractor didn't.

So as you can see, unless you are comfortable working with contractors and understand the construction business, you are best served by working with a licensed professional. Licensed architects can help you bid and negotiate a contract with a contractor, and then oeversee the work to ensure you receive a safe project that meets your needs. The website below has an "architect finder" at the bottom of the webpage that lets you put in your zip code to find a professional near you.

Good luck!


Answered 8 years ago by Kenny Johnson


Angie's List is all about local. If you think you're seeing results for businesses that don't service your area, please give us a call at 1-888-944-LIST and we'll be happy to help you find the right companies for your projects.

Answered 8 years ago by Cas

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