The first thing you should know about contractors (if you don’t already), is that they can’t make their living off of just one project. They need to be juggling multiple projects at once in order to make a decent living. Remember, they have subcontractors on their payroll. All of the money you give them doesn’t just go to them. It goes toward your materials, and to pay his subcontractors. Whatever is left over is for him.
Knowing this, you should try to be a little more respectful than most homeowners are to your contractor. You can avoid a lot of frustration by asking them how often they’ll have time to be at your project. Come up with an agreement of how many times per week, and for how many hours, that they should be at your house. You can even write it in the contract if you want to make it more final. If after speaking with them you feel that they won’t be able to dedicate enough time to your job, try to find a different contractor.
But know, that you’ll be pressed to find any contractor that will be able to be at your house 5 days a week from 8-5. This field just doesn’t work that way. Above all, make sure that the contractor is licensed. It also must be up-to-date. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to run a check on the contractor’s license; this is something you should do. At most, it will cost a few hundred dollars. See: How to Spot a Dishonest Contractor.
When it comes to renovating, you get what you pay for. As all things in life. Don’t go with the lowest bid, but don’t go with the highest either. Usually the median bid is the most honest contractor.
Try your best to find an honest, ethical contractor. Meet them in person. Don’t ever hire one on the phone. You want to see what you two communicate like together, as communication is key in a home renovation project. Feel free to ask around to find out if anyone has anything either good or bad to say about him. See: 7 Ways to Spot a Potentially Bad Contractor.
Always come up with a budget. However, know that issues arise in projects like these that are not always the contractors fault. Therefore, you should always add about 15% extra to your budget in case problems arise.