Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. Once you’ve assembled a list, make a quick call to each of your prospects and arrange face to face meeting. Ask for references. It is crucial that you communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you.
Check in with the Maryland Department Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) and the Better Business Bureau to make sure contractors don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors. Once you’ve narrowed your list, call the references and find out how their project went.
A conscientious contractor should understand what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he or she communicate. In the end, it’s better to spend more and hire someone you’re comfortable with, than go with a low bid.
Before work starts, draw up a contract that details every step of the project; payment schedule, proof of liability insurance, a start date and projected completion date, and specific materials and products to be used. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about mistrust, it’s about ensuring successful job completion.
Adapted from This Old House