Let’s be friends.  Ensure that you get a good vibe from a potential contractor.  In addition to sharing your home and space, you will spending a lot of time with them.  The key to any successful project is good communication.

Expectations.  Any reputable contractor will provide a written estimate and once you agree on terms, a written contract.  A contract should include specifics about the scope of the work, a bid price, a payment schedule and a written warranty clause.

Ask for referrals. Word of mouth is hands on the best way to find a qualified professional contractor.  Ask friends, family and neighbours for referrals.  Request a list of references and cold call to obtain first hand testimonials.

Credentials.  Do your research.  If the contractor affiliated with any recognized trade association?  Do they hold the required municipal licensing?  Do they have liability insurance to protect you and your home?  Are their employees covered under Workplace Safety & Insurance Board in the event of any accident?

Business experience.  Meet face to face with the contractor.  Ensure that the potential contractor has the knowledge and technical experience to handle your project.  Can the contractor answer all your questions that is satisfactory to you?  Does the contractor have a team of experienced staff, licensed trades and suppliers that are ready to get to work?