How Do I Choose A Contractor.

A subject we have spoken about a few times before, how do you choose the right contractor for you? The fact that we have more than one post about this means it’s still a question that gets raised, the contractor you choose can make or break a project!

Of course, the first think you need to think about is the type of work you;re wanting to have done. How big is your project? Do you have an architect or plans yet? Do you have the keys to your home? Some of these things will affect your route. A lot of contractors won’t offer an estimate if you haven’t yet closed on a property, the market is so wildly unpredictable, nothing is certain until those keys are in your hands!

Lets take a look at a few traits you should be adding to your list of must haves for any potential contractors.


A super valuable tip, speak to people around you that have dealt with the contractor you’re considering! There’s no point hiring the builder that worked on next door if you’re neighbour had a difficult experience with them.

We would also definitely recommend joining a few social media pages that are dedicated to house projects, particularly local ones. You’ll be able to get genuine feedback from past clients as well as open up a whole new avenue for advice and recommendations. You’ll even have access to photos of the handiwork too.

At O&U we give the option for you to visit an active site and are also able to put you in touch with past clients should you ever feel you;d like to hear about our work firsthand. 

Price check

Don’t just go for the cheapest offer based solely on price!

If a quote seems to good to be true, it probably is. You’re opening yourself up to being hit with hidden costs in the long run, or could even end up trusting your project to contractor that isn’t right for the job. 

We’d never say to completely disregard the cheapest offer, but if it’s nowhere near the other estimated you’re receiving, you should definitely dig a little further to fully understand what’s being offered.

Study The Estimate

Much like the above, study your estimate! If the price you’re being quoted doesn’t sit right with you, whether it being too much or too little, question it! 

A good contractor will take the time to explain their estimate and should be able to provide reasoning for what’s included in your estimate. This way you’ll be able to protect yourself against cowboy builders and hidden costs.

Visit your contract!

If you’re able to, you should definitely enquire about visiting the office so you’ll get a bit of a feel for the way the company operates.

You’ll have the chance to converse and get to know the people at the office at the time of your visit, you’ll probably be conversing with the office a lot during your project so it’s always nice to put some names to faces!

Olive & Umber’s offices are located in Peterborough and are actually a trio of converted shipping containers. It’s a pretty cool set up, we have the main office in one container, a kitchen area/break room/shower room in another and storage in the third. It’s very snazzy and we love showing it off when we can!

Never assume

You should never assume that your contract knows what you want or how you want something to look. They’ll work from the plan, whether you’ve worked with them directly to create the plan or with an architect separately, it’s their job to follow the plan. If there’s an aspect of the plan you;re not happy with it’s worth letting you contractor know this as soon as possible, it’s easier to change the paper than it is to demolish something that’s been built already!

With us, if a client wants to be part of our WhatsApp group for your specific project, then we are more than happy to have you included in that. This way you are fully involved with the goings on of your project and even get to see some sneak peek pictures of how the guys are getting on! 

Know What You Want 

It’s vital to know what you actually want from your contractor, have a think about this and compile a tick list that will help you choose the right company and save both parties a lot of time in the initial stages. Here’s a few to start you off:

  • Do they take on projects of my size?
  • Does the timeframe suit my situation?
  • When can they start?

Your contract will work with you to help you make you decisions, but ultimately it’s up to you how you want the end product to end up. Feeling comfortable with your contractor to be vocal about what you want is a vital relationship to establish. If you don’t feel like you’re being heard, this contractor may not be for you.


Being able to trust your contractor is so important. These are the people that are going to knock down your house and create your dream home, so feeling like you trust to company you end up choosing is the top of the list for a lot of people.

Whether you project is big or small, you need to have faith in your contractor, if you don;t think they’re going to be able to complete the job to your style and standards, it will be worth doing your research and potentially going down a different route. 

Trust Your Gut

Are you still excited about your project? 

You should by now have a decent enough relationship with the firm you’re considering choosing that you can have an open conversation with them and iron out any niggling feelings you have about the project. 

At O&U we definitely recognise how big of decision it is choosing a contractor, it’s a lot of money to part with so you should have the good kind of butterflies in your stomach when you sign the contract and get things finalised. This is why we have a (virtual for now) open door policy; we make sure that our team is as contactable as possible by phone, email, DM, Zoom or whatever way you prefer! Carrier pigeon?! 

Contracted contractor

There’s no reason why a contractor should not want to have a signed document agreeing to works and procedures. It’s actually super beneficial to both sides of the agreement. It avoids the potential for misunderstandings, gives peace of mind to all signee’s and can act as a legal basis for any dispute resolution. 

We’ve heard a few horror stories where a contractor doesn’t draw up a contract and it has left both the client and the contractor vulnerable should anything go wrong. Always get a contract!

I’ve only touched on a couple points for now, but I would absolutely recommend having a peek at our other blogs on the subject!

And, as always, if you’re in the market for a contractor and want to experience the O&U way, just drop us an email a and we’d love to discuss your project with you.

Kitchen Extension