Secrets to Hiring the Right Contractor for Your Job

Westchester’s top builders give their tips.

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Sequoia Contracting in North Salem translated architect Lucio Di Leo's plans into this expansive renovation. photo by Phillip Ennis Photography


Rendering by Studio RAI Architects 

Before, photo by Alan Megerdichian

You’ve lined up the funding, got your plans drawn up, braced yourself for months of dust and paint fumes. But whether it’s a new bathroom, a new wing, or a whole new house, there are definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to hiring a contractor. “There are a lot of bad apples out there,” says Anthony Maiolo, owner and president of Maiolo Construction in Eastchester. “They get their foot in the door, they’re good salesmen, but that’s where it ends.” 

Sometimes, your architect will oversee the project—at a price—and offer suggestions, handle the paperwork, the payment schedule, and the inevitable glitches. But even without an architect at your beck and call, you can find the right contractor for the job, whatever the size. Here's how.

Ask around.
Of all the ways to find a contractor—Google searches, Angie’s List, the Pennysaver—nothing beats a personal referral. “The best recommendation you can get comes from someone you know,” says Alan Mergerdichian, owner and president of Sequoia Contracting Co. in North Salem. “If a friend has done a renovation and is happy with the contractor at the end, that’s the best.” Be aware that in-demand contractors are choosing you as much as you’re choosing them. “If I were to get a cold call from a homeowner that’s interested in having me bid on a job, I’d ask them where they got my name,” adds Mergerdichian, who lines up jobs through architects who use him regularly. Your local building department and chamber of commerce may be able to offer some names as well. And check out, a sort of Zagats for all things home improvement, including contractors.



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