How to Choose a Contractor for Your Dream Cabin Build

Before Looking for a Cabin Contractor

Before you start your search, you should already have your land and funding acquired. You should also have your building plans ready and relatively finalized. This is one of the more fun steps in the process and you’ll need to have these plans ready to share with prospective contractors.

Step 1: Get Referrals and Recommendations

Don’t try to sift through the thousands of Google listings! The best way to find a reliable contractor? Your Uncle Bill or your neighbors up north! Anyone who has built a cabin or vacation home will talk your ear off about who they used and why they’re great (or not so great.) If you are having trouble getting recommendations, you can also inquire with real estate agents, material suppliers, building inspectors, and designers.

Step 2: Verify Options & Determine Priorities

You are considering a complex, time-consuming, and costly project. Your top priority should be finding someone honest to work with, who communicates clearly and advises you throughout the process. For now, you want to go through your initial list with a fine-toothed comb. Start with research from business networks like BBB and Consumer Affairs. Another easy way to weed out high-risk candidates is to verify each contractor’s license, business license, insurance, and worker’s comp.

Step 3: Interviews and References

Pick your top 3 to 5 contractors at this point and set up a time to discuss your project with each of them. Pay attention to how they communicate, the questions they ask, if they seem to understand your project, and if they make an effort to educate you on their process. Do you feel comfortable with this person? You can also ask for references. Beyond public information and online reviews, you can ask a contractor to provide references from their recent projects. You can even visit active job sites and speak to references in person.

Step 4: Compare Project Bids & Get a Contract

If a contractor has made it this far in the process, it’s time to understand the time and cost associated with their proposal. Keep in mind that the cheapest or fastest bid is not always the best bid. Beyond price, you will want to consider the project schedule, and the contractor’s experience and professionalism. When it comes to finalizing an agreement, your contractor should prepare a document that includes the following:

  • License and insurance information
  • A full scope of work
  • Complete building schedule and payment schedule
  • Detailed timeline
  • Proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation
  • List of sub-contractors

By carefully and thoroughly following these steps, you will sort through all of the necessary info to find the right contractor for your cabin or vacation home build. If at this point, you’re thinking it might be easier to buy, or you’re looking for that perfect spot of bare land – you know how to reach us!