The saying that “if you want something done right, do it yourself” doesn’t always ring true. While so many “do-it-yourselfers” are willing to endure the stress, frustration, long hours and hard work to get a home renovation project done, it’s not always the best choice. While these projects are made more DIY-friendly with how-to platforms like YouTube and Pinterest paired with easy-to-use and cost-effective products such as DOW GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealants, some jobs can and should only be tackled by the pros.

Let’s say you’re looking to hire a contractor for a home renovation project – where do you even begin? Findings from a recent focus group study conducted by Dow discovered some of the key characteristics of a good professional contractor. I’ve also learned a thing or two from my experience working with contractors.

Here are six things to look for in an effective contractor:

  1. They are trustworthy – A good contractor must be trustworthy in every aspect of their work – your home is a major asset and you shouldn’t trust its care to just anyone. While it’s sometimes tough to know who to trust, use your best judgement to determine if your contractor has the integrity your home deserves.
  2. They are passionate about what they do – Someone who loves what they do is much more likely to get the job done well. Dow’s survey found that providing quality work and experiencing high job satisfaction go hand-in-hand.
  3. They are adaptable – The building and construction industry is anything but stagnant. A successful contractor must adapt to a constantly evolving industry, including the expansion and diversification of reliable and consistent products and materials.
  4. They come highly recommended – The best home improvement and energy contractors sell themselves through the high praise of those they’ve helped. With websites like Yelp and Google, it’s easier than ever to find reviews of contractors. If a contractor comes with dazzling reviews, this is a strong indicator they’ll do a great job. Keep in mind, however, that these reviews shouldn’t be the end-all be-all of your decision. One should also do their own due diligence in ensuring the contractor is the right fit for the job based on experience and has an appropriate working style for the project, among the other tips mentioned here.
  5. They know to look for the best solution to your problem – For many home improvement problems, there is more than one possible solution – but not all are created equal. For an energy efficiency upgrade, for example, many contractors are quick to recommend installing additional insulation when the best fix might be to look for air leakage so that it can be properly sealed with something like Dow’s GREAT STUFF PRO™ Insulating Foam Sealant.
  6. They have strong technical know-how – Just as important as looking for the best solution is knowing to the right way to do so. For example, if a contractor comes to your home and is not taking measurements to understand your problem, that is a major red flag. Collecting data to determine the best course of action is critical to making sure your home improvement project is a success.

Your home is where your heart is, and you should treat it as such. While you might be able to complete some simple projects like basic air sealing, sometimes calling a professional will save time and possibly money – as doing something wrong can end up costing you more in the long run. Luckily, you are now prepared to begin your search in finding a qualified contractor. And, this important selection will give you confidence in knowing your next home improvement project will be a successful one!