This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shares eight tips for selecting and working with a qualified contractor:

1. Get recommendations.
Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who’ll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time.

2. Do phone interviews.
Once you’ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:

• Do they take on projects of your size?
• Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
• Can they give you a list of previous clients?
• How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
• How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.