Finding reliable contractors for renovations/Home Improvement

How do you guys find contractors for renovations/projects? Does anyone ever use the “Home Improvement Guide” people or people who you find the Valpak? Word of mouth? Ask on Nextdoor?

And do you always do the “get three bids” thing or do you just go with the first person you think had a reasonable price and seemed like they knew their stuff?

I tend to stick with my main contractor that I have been working with. If he can’t do something then I ask Him for referrals before going elsewhere. I don’t need the Cheapest price (maybe middle-ish :slight_smile: ) but someone I can really trust… Trust is the issue.

It’s like the same with mechanics… I still haven’t found a trustworthy one with reasonable prices.

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Word of mouth or stick to my handyman.

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In the past 10 years, it has been super difficult to get reliable, trustworthy, and reasonably-priced contractors.

I got a lot of word-of-mouth referrals, but they never worked out. At least half are busy, not reachable, or not interested in my job. Among the other half, they will provide some super high quote. And once I signed a contractor, waited for him for 2 months to start (we agreed on 3 months), then he cancelled.

I do have 1 contractor that I have done several projects with. His price is mid-point. Finish is not high standard and quite sloppy. Positive is he is trust worthy on doing the right thing behind the walls. I always try to get competing quote to keep him honest.

Most recently, I went with a new plumber and multiple handyman. I saved 10% ($2k out of $20k). But I have to consistent watch what they are doing. And I still have doubt if it was done right. I should have gone with that contractor I trusted.

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So you found yourself a wife but haven’t been able to find a decent mechanic?

So do you have a good one in the East Bay (mechanic, not wife :rofl: )?

It took me more than 12 years to seal the deal. I’m a long term kind of guy.



we love our mechanic in the East Bay - Larry’s Auto on Stanton Ave in Castro Valley. we are in West Dublin and we still drive there for our cars. Honest, but grumpy Vietnamse dude.


How’d you find the contractor in the first place?

I have none. Only a plumber I like and an electrician I liked from 10 years ago, and I’ve no idea if he’s still here.

are you part of moms group? I ask Nextdoor but I find moms groups (I am in the Castro Valley one) will give good recommendations.


hrm… Haven’t been in one for a while, but I can certainly ask some school-moms if that’s the way to go.

Love is a strong word. Love for your mechanic? Respect.

I’m not that far from Castro Valley so it’s perfect. I’ll give it a shot next time I need my car looked at. Appreciate it!

In our local community group, we maintain a spreadsheet that shares various experiences with contractors (good and bad), and I have had good success in selecting the best ones from that. So word of mouth referrals, and past history are the key.


Me = handyman

Gardener = 2nd handyman


BBB Accreditation Standards | Better Business Bureau® and

yes, love is a strong word. really like our mechanic. even though he yells at me for not taking as good care of my car as I should. but he always will offer the cheaper option if there is one. Once we had some maintenance light and he kicked something and it turned off. He didn’t charge. and didn’t even roll his eyes at me for being an idiot about cars. :wink:


He sounds totally awesome. Good comic relief.

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To find reliable and skilled contractors for renovation projects, it’s best to ask for recommendations from friends, family, and industry professionals, check with trade organizations, and use online directories. Vet potential contractors thoroughly by checking licenses, insurance, and references and ensure a detailed contract is in place. Be cautious of contractors advertised in Valpak or home improvement guides, as they may be inexperienced or unlicensed.


Usually I like to come back to the contractors I used in the past and I was satisfied with their services. If not, I usually go by recommendations of friends, of people I know. I want to work with people that have good services and have good references. There are a lot of good contractors out there that offer good services at very reasonable prices, and have a lot of knowledge about home renovation trends, or other related stuff.

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Speaking of home renovation trends, I was told that people are remodeling kitchens without dishwashers. I was like “What?? Are people just not eating dinner anymore???” Maybe not having as many kids?