Checking your Contractor’s References

When it comes to hiring a builder or contractor to build your new garage, it is necessary to take great care in selecting the best person for the job. You can begin by compiling a list of potential builders, contractors and subcontractors you may want to work with. Then, request a list of references from each. Take time to check their references carefully. This process will help narrow down your possible choices and ultimately help you decide who will be the best professional for the job.

The Contractor's Reference Form is designed to assist you when contacting each reference, and it will keep your information organized. In addition to this simple resource, you may want to ask more detailed or specific questions about each residential building project to get a good feel for each building professional. The following list offers other possible questions to ask when checking references.

  • How did you learn about this contractor?
  • When did the building professional work for you?
  • What type of work did this contractor or subcontractor do during the construction of yournew home/garage? Pour the foundation? Framing? HVAC?
  • Was your home/garage built using stock blueprints? If so, was the builder knowledgeable about stock plans and comfortable using them?
  • Was the contractor present at the job site throughout the construction process?
  • Did the builder provide a detailed construction timeline?
  • Did the construction project go as scheduled? Did it begin and end on time? Explain any delays.
  • Did the general contractor apply for the appropriate building permits?
  • Did the builder follow the building codes set forth by the local building department, city or county?
  • Did the contractor provide you with a detailed construction estimate or bid?
  • Were construction costs kept within the estimate? If not, explain.
  • How close was the final cost to the target price on the bid?
  • Did any additional costs arise during construction that were not part of the bid? How were they handled?
  • How detailed was the construction contract or building agreement?
  • Was the labor completed as specified in the construction contract? If not, explain.
  • Were the appropriate materials used as specified in the construction bid? If not, explain.
  • Were change orders put in writing? How were they handled?
  • Did workers arrive at the jobsite on time and prepared to work?
  • Were there enough contractors, subcontractors and tradesmen to handle the construction project? Were they focused on your construction project instead of closing other deals, talking on cell phones, etc.?
  • Did the builder allow people at the jobsite that did not belong or have a purpose there?
  • Did you feel welcome at the construction site to monitor progress? If not, explain.
  • Did the builder and subcontractors respect you, your property, etc.? If not, explain.
  • Were you allowed or asked to walk through the home/garage at various stages of construction?
  • Was the builder responsive to your concerns and questions? Were you satisfied with the answers you received?
  • Did the contractor make any decisions in regards to construction that did not meet your approval? If so, explain.
  • Was the job completed as specified in the contract?
  • Did the quality of craftsmanship meet your expectations?
  • Who was responsible for cleaning up the construction site?
  • Does the builder provide a warranty? Have you had to use it? If so, explain.
  • Would you hire this construction professional again?
  • Rate your satisfaction with the builder overall.

For more information about hiring a builder or contractor, see Choosing a General Contractor and Tips: Hiring a Builder.

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