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Essential Tips for Hiring a Contractor

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What to Look For and How to Choose Wisely

Finding the right contractor for your home project, whether a minor renovation or a major construction, can be a daunting task. Your home is a valuable asset, and ensuring the right company is handling the work is crucial. With the right approach, you can hire a professional who will complete the job efficiently and to your satisfaction. Here’s what to look for when hiring a contractor to ensure your project runs smoothly.

Verify Qualifications

In Texas, general contractors are not required to be licensed or bonded, but they must be registered as a business with the state. However, specialized trades such as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians do need to hold a Texas Contractor License. Ensuring your contractor has the necessary qualifications is the first step in safeguarding your project.

Check for Insurance

There have been instances where contractors provide fake or outdated insurance documents. Always ask for a copy of the contractor’s general liability declaration page and keep it for your records. Ensure the coverage is current; otherwise, you could be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur during the project. Additionally, if the contractor uses subcontractors, request a lien waiver. This waiver ensures the contractor is responsible for paying the subcontractors, preventing them from placing a lien on your home if they are not paid.

Recommendations and Reputation

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for contractor recommendations. Find out how long the contractor has been in business and research their record and reputation. An established company with a solid track record is more likely to provide quality service. Ask for references and, if possible, visit previous projects they have completed.
This helps verify their experience and competence in handling the type of project you need.
Checking with your local Chamber of Commerce is also recommended.

Verify Experience

Just because a contractor claims they can do the work doesn’t mean they have the experience to
do it right. It’s important to verify that they have specific experience with the type of project
you’re undertaking. This can prevent future issues and ensure the work meets your expectations.

Check Permits and Approvals

Before starting any work, check with your Homeowners Association (HOA) to see if they need to approve the improvements. Most cities also require permits for building projects, even for relatively simple jobs like decks. A competent contractor will handle all necessary permits before starting work. This not only ensures the work complies with local regulations but also prevents future legal issues.

Establish a Payment Schedule

Avoid paying the full amount upfront and never pay in cash. Establish a clear payment schedule that reflects the progress of the project. For instance, you might pay one-third of the total cost upfront, one-third at the midpoint of the project, and the final one-third upon completion. Never make the final payment until the city has passed the final inspection and you are fully satisfied with the job. This ensures that the contractor completes the work to your standards and complies with all local building codes.

Other Key Considerations

When hiring a contractor, there are additional factors to keep in mind:

Communication: Ensure that the contractor is communicative and responsive. Clear and open communication is vital for a successful project.

Written Contract: Always have a detailed, written contract that outlines the scope of work, timelines, payment schedule, and any other important details. This protects both parties and helps prevent misunderstandings.

Quality of Materials: Discuss the materials to be used in the project. Ensure that the contractor plans to use high-quality, durable materials that meet your expectations and the project’s requirements.

Warranty: Inquire about warranties for both labor and materials. A reputable contractor should offer some form of guarantee for their work.


Hiring a contractor involves careful consideration and due diligence. By verifying qualifications, checking insurance, seeking recommendations, confirming experience, ensuring necessary permits, and establishing a clear payment schedule, you can protect your investment and ensure your home improvement project is completed successfully. Taking these steps will not only give you peace of mind but also help ensure that your project is completed to the highest standards.

By following these guidelines, you can navigate the contractor hiring process with confidence, ensuring your home remains a safe and valuable asset

Doris Richards Co-Owner of T&D Construction

Doris brings over 20 years of expertise in luxury outdoor living spaces like patio covers, pergolas, decks, and outdoor kitchens. Alongside her husband Tom, she ensures their designs combine beauty and functionality. A recent Leadership Rockwall graduate, Doris is dedicated to changing perceptions of construction workers by maintaining transparency and delivering on promises. T&D Construction supports The Children’s Advocacy Center of Rockwall County and Patriot Paws, embodying their values of faith, family, and integrity. They are committed to building not just outdoor spaces, but lasting legacies of trust and quality.

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