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Hire the Best Home Contractors: 4-Step Guide by Fortress Home

Home contractors are basically general contractors that specialize in overseeing and executing residential projects of any scale. Everything — from a simple bathroom remodel to a new home construction can be handled by these guys.

A residential general contractor takes care of each milestone of the task — evaluates the budget, gets the required permits, hires subcontractors, purchases the materials, builds or remodels, provides project management until its successful completion.


In order to hire the best general contractors near you, it is highly advisable to follow a few simple steps, mentioned in this Guide.

Getting ready to hire home contractors

The list of jobs

Hiring contractors might be overwhelming, but by checking out this list of services that they provide, you will start having some clarity. Here are the most requested jobs:

  • New home construction
  • Home remodel
  • Additions to the house
  • Roof renovation
  • Floor repair
  • Walls installation and renovation
  • Windows and doors installation and renovation
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Bathroom renovation
  • Living room remodel
  • Bedroom: repairing old, building the addition
  • Hiring subcontractors (HVAC, carpenters, plumbers, electrical work, installation of utility systems, etc.)

8 basic milestones

To get the job done, your contractor will have to go through a few milestones:

  1. Get all the necessary permits
  2. Order materials and deliver them
  3. Hire subcontractors if they are needed
  4. Prepare the site for the job: demolish old structures, bring out the furniture, clean the space
  5. Begin the process and follow the schedule
  6. Manage and control every stage of the process
  7. Make sure that all safety and building requirements are met in full scale
  8. Finish the job according to the contract and close the deal

Safety and security

If you are hiring workers who will either stay in your residence for a substantial amount of time or build your new home, you definitely want to feel safe and secure. That's why, as a homeowner, you only want to trust your space to real pros. This is when our Guide advice comes to play.

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Step 1. Do the online research

It all starts with Google unless you already have solid recommendations of great contractors. Here are a few tips on how to perform successful online research:

Go local

After you've learned all the basic information on remodeling or construction, narrow your search down to your location: if you live in the Chicago area, iL, add "in Chicago" to the main query. This will help you explore the companies that have experience here and are able to for-see all the potential difficulties.

Evaluate the quality and the transparency of the site

Trustworthy professionals would never be saving up on the quality of their online presence. A modern, easy to search, and transparent site is a very good sign of a serious company.

Explore the portfolio

Past projects of your potential contractor are very important. What jobs have they finished throughout the years? Do you like them? Do the style and the general approach match your needs? These are essential questions before performing the next steps.

Step 2. Choose the contractor based on your project type

Residential general contractors provide construction and/or remodeling services. For the homeowners, it makes sense to hire professionals, according to the type and scale of the project. Though general contractors usually do it all (the word "general" is there for a reason), it is expected that there is one process that they execute better than the other.

Does the company that you set your eyes on, specialize in new construction — or maybe just the home repair? Though the business is the same, there are a lot of different branches of it — and a lot of peculiarities. Permits, materials, suppliers, subcontractors — all would be different if we're talking of a kitchen remodel or building a custom home.

Be sure that the contractors that you are about to hire, have experience with this particular kind of job. Here at Fortress Home we have been in business for more than 20 years and have successfully completed hundreds of different residential jobs.


Go to our portfolio and check out new construction, renovation, home repair, tiny or large scale projects. Like what you see? Call us at 773-770-8607 for a free consultation from those who executed them! All home builders must obtain relevant licenses and certifications.

Step 3. Ask a few questions directly to the potential contractor

After you have found a few potential contractors, give them a call and discuss your task in more detail. Qualified professionals will provide you with all the needed information and can offer an onsite estimate. Things that you necessarily need to acquire during a phone call:

  • If their business is licensed. All contractors must have a state license (for particular sets of jobs or general contracting), registration certificate, and relevant insurance to cover the costs/losses in case of contingencies
  • What is the price for the completion of your project? By gathering information from a few candidates, you can compare the future costs
  • What timeline and schedule do they offer for this task? Does it match your expectations?
  • What contract do they offer? Before even considering hiring a professional, have a look at the contract draft. In the case of large scale projects, it always makes sense to also show it to a professional lawyer
  • How are the payments divided? How much is the down payment? What are the terms of closing the deal? And remember: never pay a 100% deposit for any kind of work!

Recommended reading

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If you really liked the candidate but need more information, you can always schedule a meeting at their office or invite them to your place for an estimate. You can test this advice on Fortress Home: give a call at 773-770-8607 and ask us a few questions on your project. We might come up with something brilliant.

Step 4. Become a secret agent

This is the most fun part of all — and we, honestly, are enjoying it the most. Do the field research and go have a look at the remodel or construction projects, completed by your potential contractor. To really evaluate the job it is always better to see it. In case you're interested in remodeling your house, visit neighbors or friends that have recommended their remodeling company. In case you are opting for a new construction project — explore the sites with new houses, have a good look around, and talk to the owners.

Thinking that they've done excellent work? Then it all speaks to their favor!

Now all you have to do is get a final quote on your request, check the license and other paperwork of your qualified workers, sign the contract (where the final cost and the schedule of the project are listed), pay the deposit, and wait till you get the keys from a freshly renovated or a new house!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a home contractor do?

Home or general contractor provides a full spectrum of services for residential projects — from home remodeling to building a new house from scratch. These are the pros that are fully responsible for each step of the project — homeowners don't need to worry about anything. They will get all the necessary permits, buy the materials, manage the costs, hire subcontractors and control each step of the way.

If you are looking for a trustworthy general contractor in the Chicago area, iL, you are on the right page! Our family-run business Fortress Home has been on the market for more than 20 years and has successfully completed various residential projects.


Check out real testimonials on our site or give us a call at 773-770-8607 for a free estimate.

Is it cheaper to hire a contractor?

Yes and no. If you have profound experience in the construction/remodeling business, then you will definitely save a penny on your own private project. But if you have no idea, better refer to the professionals. Not only do they have the experience in this business, but also solid guarantees — such as insurances, licenses, testimonials and real completed projects that you can go and check out yourself.

How much do home contractors cost?

Home contractors usually charge from 10% to 20% of the final cost of your project. Have one in mind? Give a call at 773-770-8607 and have a chat with one of Fortress Home team members: we will give you free advice and an honest estimate.

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