How to find the right contractor in four steps
You’re ready to tighten up your home or business, but the project is beyond what you want to do on your own. Use this guide to help you find the right contractor.
Step 1 – Get recommendations
Talk to friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Did any of them recently complete a project? Who did they hire or talk to—and how did the project go? Word of mouth is a great place to start, and you can also make good use of online resources such as Front Porch Forum, Yelp, or Angie’s List.
Step 2 – Make your listOur online listing will help you find local contractors who specialize in the services you seek. For a contractor with training in energy efficiency, look for one who is part of the Efficiency Excellence Network (EEN). EEN contractors receive ongoing training in energy efficiency, hold all required licenses, and can help you find cost-effective opportunities to save energy. They specialize in lighting, heating and cooling, heat pump installation, and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®.
Step 3 – Do phone interviews
Call the contractors on your list and talk to them about your project. A phone interview can tell you more about what it might be like to work with a specific contractor. To help narrow your list to a few top choices, ask questions such as the following:
- How many projects have you completed? How many do you do per year?
- What are some of the results of your projects?
- Do you use subcontractors? If so, are they trained in energy efficiency?
- When could my project fit into your schedule?
- Do you have experience with Efficiency Vermont and securing rebates for customers?
- Do you have insurance that covers the type of work you are performing?
- Can you provide a certificate of insurance listing me on it?
Step 4 – Check references for your top choices
Once you’ve narrowed your list to a couple of contractors, check their references. This will give you the confidence to make a final decision. Here are a few questions we recommend asking the contractors’ previous customers:
- Were you satisfied with the contractor’s work?
- Are you as happy with the results today as you were when the project was completed?
- Were there cost or schedule overages? If so, why—and how did the contractor handle the situation?
You can also check in with Vermont’s Better Business Bureau. You’ll be able to find out whether a contractor has a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.