Hiring a Contractor

What to expect, and what to watch out for

Full disclosure: SQFT Studios is a residential general contractor. Below are best practices when hiring any contractor, including us!

The type of projects we work on are often the second biggest purchase a family will make in their life, second to their primary dwelling. That’s big! And it is also challenging for many reasons like; financing, scheduling, and engaging in a practice most people know less about than is comfortable.

This blog post is aimed at helping you feel better about, more knowledgeable of, and confident in making these decisions. This post is specifically about hiring a contractor, which is one of the most challenging and least understood portions of the building process.

Finding a list of possible contractors is a good start. If you can get any personal recommendations that is a nice leg up.

  • Once you have your list you should check their licenses against the CCB database to make sure they are active and in good standing.
  • Ask for referrals, and follow up! Ask questions that may be important to you like; did they keep a clean site, were they respectful of your property and your neighbors, etc.
  • Ask as many questions as you have and can think of. Your contractor should be willing to talk you through the process – communication is key
  • Make sure your values and focus are aligned (sustainability, interior environmental health, design, style, cost, speed, staying local, etc.)
  • Check out examples of their work
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any outstanding complaints that have not been addressed.
  • Request bids and compare them using an apples to apples basis. It’s usually a good idea to avoid the lowest and highest bidders.
  • Ask them for a schedule for when they can start working and what the expected finish date will be.
  • Don’t be afraid to give a new contractor a chance, we all have to start somewhere!

Once you have secured your contractor, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know them.

Note: SQFT Studios is a Design/Build firm. That means we are both Architect and Contractor and hold licenses from both the Oregon Board of Architectural Examiners (ORBAE) and the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) for the projects engaged in that way. Some projects are just design, and some are just construction, but our core business is using our proprietary modular panel system to design and build Home Studios, ADUs, and other accessory structures.

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