Even if you’re a committed do-it-yourself fanatic, there comes a time when you have to hire a Home improvement and remodeling contractor. This can be a daunting task. We’ve all heard nightmare tales of contractors who do shoddy work, or who require payment before a project is finished and then never finish it, or who show up to give an estimate and then never actually give one—or give an outrageous one. You may be wondering how to find a good home improvement and remodeling contractor. There are a few different strategies you can use to determine the quality of a potential home improvement and remodeling contractor. First, ask around. Did your neighbor have her house painted? Does it look like a quality job, and is she happy with it? Finding out who your neighbors have hired for their home improvement projects is a great way to make up a list of potential contractors. Second, take a walk. Is there a contractor landscaping someone’s yard? Ask for her card. Simply keeping your eyes open is another good way to find a home improvement and remodeling contractor. Make sure you ask at a convenient moment, and not when the contractor is in the middle of a grueling procedure. Given the right moment, most contractors will be happy that you admire their work, and happy to give you their contact information.If a contractor is too busy to give you an estimate, that’s probably a sign that he’s well respected for his work and in demand! Even if he can’t consult on your project, chances are he knows someone who can. A person recommended by a reliable contractor is also likely to be a good choice. In any search for a home improvement and remodeling contractor, be sure to educate yourself about whatever project you have in mind, even if you aren’t doing any of the work yourself. You’ll be able to understand the right questions to ask a potential contractor, and you’ll gain a better understanding of the project yourself. You’ll know enough to know when a potential home improvement and remodeling contractor can’t meet your needs. You can find research materials on a wide variety of home improvement topics at your local library. These books and magazines can also be a great source of inspiration for designing a new home improvement project. Make up a list of questions to ask a contractor ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to write things down when the contractor is talking to you. This will be a great resource for you later on when comparing contractors. Asking the right questions is crucial to hiring the right person for a specific job. Two additional factors to remember: Never hire a contractor without some sort of reference from a prior job; and it’s okay to sleep on a decision. You’ll find it helpful to get at least three estimates for any major project you are contemplating. Trust your instincts, and check your contractor’s work before you hire. Before you know it, you’ll find a great home improvement and remodeling contractor that you can recommend to your friends and neighbors.