Five Things to Look for in a Contractor

Standing under fully closed pergola roof looking out to neighborhood

Finding a outdoor pergola company contractor is more complicated than it sounds. There are so many out there and, if we’re being honest, so many bad ones. If you want to find a good one, here are five key ingredients to look for…

Credentials and Licenses

Look for a contractor who has been in business for a while, someone who is licensed and registered. Every state has different rules. Check yours on or ask a local building inspector what the rules are. The best contractors will have liability insurance and worker’s comp and they’ll have a solid reputation among customers and employees alike. Make sure that they also have a clean bill of health from your state’s consumer protection agency.

A Good Reputation

Get referrals from friends and neighbors who have had similar work done to their homes. Check contractors’ online reviews on their social media pages or on generic review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Take every review they have with a grain of salt, of course, but don’t ignore the red flags you may come across in your research.

Fair Prices

Once you’ve separated the good from the bad, one way to choose among your top choices is to toss them all a low offer. Look for value and be wary if someone comes in several thousand dollars below the others. Yes, it appears to be a great deal, but the contractor may be cutting corners or may start the project only to tell you that it’s more complicated than initially assumed and therefore more expensive. Don’t accept a contractor who demands more than 30 percent upfront. Periodic payments as the contractor completes certain portions of the project, guarantee every phase gets done well.  Three payments per project is usually enough to ensure you’re project is done to completion, to your satisfaction. A fairly significant portion of the cost should be paid only when the job is 100% completed.

Communication Skills

You want to know your contractor is hearing what you have to say. The best way to gauge communication skills before hiring is to call them or send them an email. If they don’t answer or reply to your message, they probably won’t be the best communicators.

A Thorough Contract

Every project should have a contract, no matter the size of the estimated work. Contractors are called contractors for a reason. Every detail about the project should be in this contract including a work timetable with start and finish dates, a description of the work, the materials that will be used, right down to the brand or make of the fixtures and everything in between, including a time limit. Contracts ensure that if a dispute arises, it can be dealt with easily.