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How to check a contractor’s references

Q: When I contact contractor references, what should I ask?

Wesley R., Portland, Ore.

A: This is a great question because even though I’m the first to rave about the benefits of trustworthy consumer review sites, I still recommend taking time to contact past customers before you hire a company.

I suggest you ask references all or some of the following questions, which fall under five general categories:

Project type, size and scope:


Contract and communication:

Did the contractor or designated representative stay in contact during the project or when changes were required? Were you regularly informed of the project’s status?

Following the rules:

Was the contractor appropriately licensed? Did he or she provide proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance, as well as proof of bonding?

Project realities:

Was the contractor or designated contact person pleasant and easy to work with?

If the job featured subcontractors, were you pleased with their work?

The bottom line:

And last but not least, the question that is perhaps the ultimate to ask a reference: Would you be willing to hire the contractor again?

Send questions to askangie@angieslist.com.

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