In just southern Wisconsin alone, there are hundreds of contractors to choose from. Every home and project for your home is unique, and as a homeowner, you should be educated about how to find and choose the right contractor.

Repairing or renovating your home can be stressful with the wrong contractor but enjoyable with the right contractor. There are many ways to find a good contractor for your job, and these six tips can assist you with the process.


1.  Word of mouth is the most valuable way to get dependable recommendations.

Referrals from trusted friends and family who have hired a professional contractor for a similar project are typically more dependable and truthful than paid advertisements. A satisfied homeowner will usually be happy to recommend a good company.

Another dependable referral source can be found in local supply companies. Go to your local lumber yard or a company such as ABC Supply Company or Allied Building Products and ask for their recommendations. Oftentimes they’ll know who conducts a lot of business and who consistently pays their bills to get their supplies.

2. Homeowner-to-homeowner online review sites are also extremely helpful.

Navigating the overwhelming number of websites that provide information on contractors can be stressful, but going straight to real-life accounts of homeowners’ experiences is helpful and trustworthy. Angie’s List is one of the best review websites because it organizes homeowners’ experiences into categories such as quality, price, and professionalism, with customers rating businesses on an A–F letter scale. Yelp is another good resource, as are search engines such as Yahoo! and Google.

While surveying these websites, it is important to remember that even the best companies will have some negative feedback mixed in. Rather than looking for perfect ratings—which won’t be found—look for the overall impression of each company’s reviews.

3. Be wary of professional-to-homeowner review sites.

On professional-to-homeowner review sites such as or HomeAdvisor, homeowners submit the job they need done to a team of former contractors who then refer them to their recommended businesses. However, contractors pay to be featured on these websites, and the more they pay, the more often they are recommended. Although a website may present itself as a trustworthy advocate for homeowners, it is actually just a business that sells contractors’ information for a profit.

4. Look for the necessary licenses and accreditations.

Your contractor should be fully licensed and insured and should have a high rating with the Better Business Bureau. You should also visit the contractor’s website to find out whether they are a factory-certified vendor of quality materials. Look for names such as CertainTeed, LP, Owens Corning, and Mastic.
A business that is serious and intentional about their services and their customer base will take the time to acquire these manufacturer designations. For example, manufacturers hold roofing companies to certain standards to become certified vendors of their materials, so certification is a good sign that you’re dealing with a quality business.

5. Get three or four quotes and use those to influence your decision.

Getting three or four estimates from local, licensed, and insured contractors will help ensure that you find the best balance of price and quality in a company. Getting too many quotes will only confuse you and waste your time, and it also wastes the time and effort of the companies that provide unnecessary estimates.
How a contractor responds to your request for a quote often reflects his or her work ethic. If the contractor says your estimate will be ready by Monday and you don’t get it until Thursday, chances are that contractor is lazy, disorganized, or bad at time management, and your experience with them will likely be unpleasant.

Don’t make your decision based solely on the price of the quote; a lower price can often mean lower-quality work, in which case you might have to spend more money later on repairs. A high-quality contractor will consider the proper labor, materials, and insurance needed when preparing a quote.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

6. Hire the contractor with whom you feel most comfortable.

Your contractor should communicate well with you, return your calls, send you all requested information and documents, and make you feel like a priority. If someone gives you a bad gut feeling, don’t hire them. Hire a contractor you feel comfortable talking to, doing business with, and letting work on your home.
Trust is essential when working with a contractor. If you don’t trust your contractor, working together on the project will not be a happy experience for either party.

Big Fish proudly focuses not only on quality roofs and renovations, but also on positive relationships with customers. For more information or a free estimate, contact or call 262-470-1114.