How to Find an Honest Contractor 

Tim King, President

North Coast Building Industry Association – NCBIA –

Severe weather may be approaching with the arrival of the winter months. If Mother Nature damages your home, you may need to call a professional for help. Unfortunately, not all professionals are looking out for a homeowner’s best interest. After natural or man-made disasters, unscrupulous contractors try to profit from a community’s misfortune. 

You may not be able to stop unexpected damage to your home, but a fly-by-night contractor is one disaster you can prevent. There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you hire a reputable professional. You can follow these guidelines when evaluating any potential contractor, whether for post-disaster repairs or a planned renovation to your home.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind: 

Price and payment

  • Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should not be told that you need to sign a contract that day or risk a price increase. 
  • Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is typical; however, you should not be asked to pay the full cost in advance before work begins.   
  • Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order or credit card.


  • Confirm that the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for their business. 
  • Check the state’s licensing board to ensure the business has no unresolved complaints. 
  • Ask the contractor to provide references for past work and be sure the references can be reached.
  • Check out the business on consumer review sites such as HomeAdvisor, Houzz, etc. Remember to take the good with the bad when reading online reviews.

Contract and completion

  • Be cautious of anyone who tells you that “a contract won’t be necessary.” Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor. 
  • Ensure the final payment is due once the job is completely finished and you are satisfied. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, confirm that it is done and that you have paperwork proving it before making the final payment. 

Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a dependable contractor with an established business in our community, contact the NCBIA. 

We are your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic.   So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our website at – go to Members and then Member Search, or call 440-934-1090.   We also have a job posting board (under the industry tab).   

Visit our 24/7 Virtual Parade of Homes!!!  Allows you to look at some of our builders’ new homes and communities on your mobile device or computer at your leisure (including our remodelers) We know time is our greatest asset and via our NCBIA Virtual Parade of Homes, we save you time looking for a new home or a community that fits your lifestyle.  The Virtual Parade of Homes is open online 24/7.  Many of the homes featured in our Virtual Parade host regular open house hours for those consumers who are looking to tour the actual homes.  You can click through to builder websites to see what they have to offer.

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