February 28, 2017

When you first meet with a contractor, they can seem likeable and knowledgeable, but how can you tell if are they a good contractor?

Quite often, you can only figure this out once work is underway, and then it can be a disaster. But there are thankfully a few things to look out for even before work has started or your contract is signed.

Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

No Contract

If the contractor won’t write things down, or says ‘we don’t need a contract, we have an understanding,’ walk away. A contract protects both of you by saying what each party is going to do: the contractor is going to carry out work for you and you are going to pay an agreed-upon amount of money for the work to be done.

You should specify a number of things in the contract, including:

  • That the work should meet a certain standard

  • That particular products should (or shouldn’t) be used

  • That the contractor will clean up after the work

  • That the work will be done within a certain time frame

These are all valid points for a business transaction.

Required Upfront Payment

While requiring a partial deposit on work to be done is acceptable practice, asking for payment before the job is started or completed means you have no leverage if the job should go sour.

No Permits

No. Walk away. If your project warrants a permit, you are required by law to have one. You will be the one left holding the bag if you break the law, not the contractor. Variations on this include convincing you that the project doesn’t need to be built to industry standards, or to use standard building materials.

You End Up Being the Site Supervisor

If the contractor is absent most of the time, or you feel the need to supervise the contractor because you are concerned about the work being done (or not done) and materials being used (or not used), this is a huge red flag. When you have no contract, you haven’t got any way to point out what roles and responsibilities either of you has.

What Makes a Good Contractor

Here’s what to look for in a good contractor. These tips will make your next home performance, renovation or construction project go smoothly.

  1. Has insurance, proper licenses and references.

  2. Presents you with a contract that defines roles and responsibilities as well as the scope of the project, scheduling details and payment terms that you have agreed to.

  3. Includes permits and all required building inspections in your project.

  4. Requires only a small deposit to start working on your project.

  5. Uses quality materials that meet code and industry requirements.

We are proud to be a fully licensed, certified and reputable contractor serving customers across New York’s capital region. Contact us to learn more about our services!


  • Thanks to the work done by Stonehenge Associates I am much more comfortable in my home. I used to have a lot of cold spots in my home and Stonehenge Associates went the extra mile to address and fix the problems I was having.

  • After Stonehenge Associates insulated my home I have a $2,000 credit with my oil company! After just one winter! Their claims on savings really exceeded expectations.

  • Stonehenge Associates provided us with excellent service from the assessment phase through the inspection phase. We are very pleased with the quality and professionalism of the staff!

  • Stonehenge Associates is the kind of business you strive to be and/or work with.