Selecting the Right Contractor: Red Flags and Best Practices

By AIA Contract Documents

June 17, 2024

Choosing the right construction contractor is crucial for the success of any project. A dependable contractor ensures timely completion within budget and high-quality workmanship. Here is a list of best practices to follow when selecting a construction contractor and red flags to watch for.


Conduct Thorough Research

Research potential contractors online and through industry resources. Look for reviews, ratings, and testimonials.

Verify Credentials

Check for valid licenses, certifications, and insurance coverage. Confirm their standing with local licensing boards and industry associations.

Check References

Contact previous clients to inquire about their experiences. Ask about the quality of work, adherence to timelines, and how issues were handled.

Review Past Projects

Visit past project sites if possible. This gives you a sense of the contractor’s workmanship and attention to detail.

Request Detailed Proposals

A good contractor will provide a comprehensive proposal outlining the scope of work, materials, timeline, and cost breakdown.


 Negative Online Reviews

Consistent negative feedback and unresolved complaints on review platforms are clear indicators of potential problems.

No Proper Licensing and Insurance

Ensure the contractor holds the necessary licenses and insurance. Operating without these can lead to legal issues and liabilities for the owner.

Lack of References and Past Projects

A reputable contractor should provide references and examples of completed projects. Avoid contractors who are reluctant or unable to do so.

Poor Communication

If a contractor is difficult to reach, unresponsive, or lacks clear communication from the outset, it can lead to major issues during the project.

Unrealistically Low Bids

While competitive pricing is important, bids significantly lower than others can indicate potential compromises on quality or hidden costs.

By adhering to best practices and watching for red flags, owners can select a construction contractor who is dependable, professional, and capable of delivering a successful project. Proper due diligence and clear communication are essential to fostering a productive and trustworthy contractor relationship.

AIA Contract Documents are here to help you

Did you know that AIA Contract Documents offers qualification statements to help you select your contractor and architect? Click here to learn more about AIA Document A305™-2020, Contractor’s Qualification Statement, and click here to learn more about AIA Document B305™-2021, Architect’s Qualification Statement. This summer we will also expand our project participant selection product offerings to include:

  • AIA Document A304™–2024, Request for Contractor’s Qualifications
  • AIA Document B304™–2024, Request for Architect’s Qualifications
  • AIA Document C304™–2024, Request for Consultant’s Qualifications; and
  • AIA Document C305™–2024, Consultant’s Qualification Statement

Stay tuned for more details about the release of these new documents.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.