Contractors are in integral part of the renovation process. While the internet is a great place for many things, there is such a thing as too much information.  It can be extremely overwhelming trying to find a good contractor. A cursory Google search for “Seattle Contractor” came up with 20 on the first page alone including the two that paid to be put at the top.

Here is a good starting point to help guide your decision process:

  • Get personal recommendations. Who among your friends and family have had a remodel in the past two years?
  • Have a set of questions ready to ask each of your prospective contractors (more on this below)
  • Know your rough budget
  • Do your research! Learn as much as possible about the companies you are considering!
  • Make sure they’re licensed and bonded

Bill Babb of Better Builders in West Seattle, took some time to talk with me about the process of finding the right contractor for you.

The most important thing you should do before calling any contractor is to know your budget. With an established budget, you will be able to get more information from the contractor and know whether or not your project is realistic with your budget.

Things to consider before hiring your contractor:

  • Do they take the time to establish rapport? You want them to get to know you and your goals. What are your “pain points” and can they be addressed??
  • Will they let you know what to expect with every meeting? You should know just as much as the contractor about the topics and goals of each meeting.
  • Will they be honest about whether your budget is realistic? Will you get everything you want?
  • Will you get an upfront contract? You should know exactly what you’re getting into and there should be no surprises.
  • Did they follow up after your initial meeting? You want to be able to contact them and not worry about chasing them down.

There are specific questions to ask that are unique to everyone… It’s important to ask about things that are important to you.

Here are a few to get you started:

  1. If scheduling is important: How is the schedule maintained?
  2. If it’s the budget: Are there any additional charges to the agreed upon budget?
  3. If it’s keeping the house clean, keeping doors closed, not imposing on neighbors: How will those concerns be handled??
  4. The contractor should ask you some key questions also. There isn’t just one question that is important for them to ask you, it’s the 50 questions they’ll ask to find out what is important to you. What is your pain with the house? If there isn’t a pretty big pain, you should ask yourself if you really need to do the work?

The most important thing about hiring a contractor is that it’s a good fit. It’s just as important for you to be a good fit with your contractor as it is for the contractor to be a good fit with you.

Bill councils people to find someone that they can relate to. You are working with your contractor for a significant amount of time, it’s a very intimate relationship. Someone will be working in your home. Your needs and things are important and that should be communicated. Communication is the key to this being a successful relationship.


Walter (Bill) Babb is the owner of Better Builders. Better Builders manages new construction and residential remodeling projects throughout Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound Area, including: Kirkland, Bellevue, Lake Forest Park, Des Moines, Federal Way, Renton, Burien, Normandy Park, Mercer Island, Shoreline, Sammamish, Issaquah, Redmond and Kent.