Demetree Real Estate Blog

6 Things to Look for in a Contractor for Construction Services

[fa icon="calendar"] 02.09.2017 / by Wallace Dostal


Let’s be honest. Not all contractors were created equal and selecting the right one is risky business. How do you know if they are competent and reliable until you actually work with them? Well, you can’t really, but you can get a good idea of the kind of work they do if you know what to look for.

Here are six things to look for in a contractor for construction services:

1. Experience and Capabilities

First things first, make sure the contractor has the right experience and capabilities to get the job done. Look at their track record and pay special attention to the volume of work and average job size they have successfully completed.

Will your job be within their scope? You don’t want to hire someone who is over or under qualified so be sure to match their capabilities to your requirements before making a decision.

2. Accountability

Find a contractor who will be responsible and accountable for the work they do. Take some time to understand how the supervisory structure works and who is in charge of the business. It is important that management will support your need for responsible decision making and regulatory compliance.

3. History and Track Record

How long has your contractor been in business? Have they done work under different names or in different locales? It is not uncommon for a contractor to start a new firm in a new location to avoid liabilities associated with their previous company.

Don’t be afraid to do some digging and ask for references. Find out if they have been given repeated business by any of their clients. Also, look at their staff to see how long they have been with the firm. If the contractor isn’t able to hold on to their staff members, this could be a red flag.

4. Safety Record

Look into your contractor’s safety record and ask what kind of safety programs they have in place. They should have a health and safety program in place that addresses the types of hazards their employees will face working on a project like yours.

All candidates should have an Experience Modification Rate (EMR) that tells you what kind of insurance claims they have made in the recent past. A score below 1.0 is generally regarded as acceptable while a score above 1.0 would suggest that a significant loss claim has taken place recently.

5. Insurance

Your contractor should carry builder’s risk, liability, vehicle and workers’ compensation insurance. If they are not insured and something goes wrong during the course of the project, you could be forced to pay for damages even if it wasn’t your fault.

6. Good Fit

Finally, make sure your contractor is a good fit personality-wise. It’s inevitable that your project will run into some kind of roadblock or inconvenience that will need to be dealt with. How these problems are dealt with will depend on the relationship you have.

A good contractor will communicate well and work with you to save money. In turn, you will be expected to stay out their hair so they can do the job. If you cannot find a contractor who you feel comfortable working with on a personal level, keep looking. Life is much easier when you don’t have to deal with contractor disputes.

Selecting a Contractor

Good relationships are built on mutual trust and quality work. Working with a reliable partner should be a top priority in any construction project. Just make sure that your contractor is not only capable of handling your project, but will finish the job safely and without conflict.


Topics: Construction

Wallace Dostal

Written by Wallace Dostal

Wallace Dostal is the construction manager at Demetree Real Estate Services. He has 30 years of experience in the construction industry.