Should You Use Your Friend’s General Contractor Referral?

Check these boxes before hiring your contractor: experience, competitive bids, and support during your renovation

Image of a home stairwell during construction

What’s the best way to find a contractor for your renovation? Who will make the most trustworthy recommendation? It’s tempting to turn to friends and family, as you would when looking for a restaurant or babysitter. Before you decide to just use your friend’s general contractor, there are a few vital questions you should ask yourself. Sweeten outlines these questions, with the possible pros and cons, in this guide.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

How much experience is the friend/family recommendation based on?

Has your friend done one renovation with this general contractor? Two? How are they able to compare their contractors to the dozens or hundreds who may serve your area?

Why Sweeten?

At Sweeten, we benefit from the experience of over 2,000 successful home renovations. We’ve worked with hundreds of general contracting firms, many for several years. We also benefit from a founder and team members who are trained architects with extensive industry experience. We know how to evaluate general contractors!

How similar was their renovation to the one you’re planning?

The best contractor for a bathroom remodel might not be the best choice for a full-house gut renovation. Similarly, the best contractor for build-only renovation may not be the best choice for one that requires design or architecture services.

Why Sweeten?

Sweeten has performed every kind of renovation for every kind of home. We know every detail about the general contractors in our network: specialties, budget ranges, design services offered, experience in specific buildings, and even communication styles. We can match you with contractors who are perfectly equipped to succeed at your project.

Will you get a competitive bid?

Will your friend/family be able to recommend more than one contracting company? This is all that most non-professionals are able to offer. Unfortunately, without multiple contractors competing for your project, you’ll have no way of knowing if your bid is competitive—or even reasonable.

Why Sweeten?

Sweeten matches you with a curated shortlist of appropriate general contractors. We make it easy for you to connect with three or more, and to solicit bids from each. This allows you to make an informed choice, and to hire with confidence.

Will you get expert support?

You’ll probably have some questions. How do I prepare for a site visit? What should I ask each contractor? How do I get the most accurate bids? How do I compare bids that are organized differently and include different line items? What design or architecture services I’ll need?

Why Sweeten?

At Sweeten, we’ll happily answer all your questions. We even offer a call dedicated to comparing your bids. We don’t charge for any of these services.

What happens if something goes wrong during the renovation?

If you use a friend’s general contractor, and the contractor turns out to be a problem, your friend/family will not be in a position to help.

Why Sweeten?

At Sweeten, we start with prevention: all of our contractors have met our standards—they’re fully insured, they meet all required state and local licensing requirements, they’ve been in business long enough to earn solid reputations. We’ve interviewed them, interviewed their previous clients, and in many cases, we’ve been working with them for years.

In the unlikely event of a problem with your Sweeten general contractor that you can’t resolve on your own, we will step in and help. And if you experience a loss that you’re unable to recover from the contractor’s insurance company, Sweeten backs your project with up to $50,000 Renovation Financial Protection, at no cost to you.

Sweeten can help

Sometimes you need your best friend … and sometimes you need a team of trained architects who have facilitated thousands of successful renovations and who offer financial protection.

find general contractors

ADUs or accessory dwelling units can transform into home offices, living space for family or as a rental, or a retreat.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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