how to choose a GC in MD VA DC

4 Ways to Spot a Bad General Contractor

Whether you are a homeowner considering pre-sale renovations, or a tried and true real estate agent who has advised hundreds of clients, the process of finding a reliable, qualified general contractor can feel like hunting for a unicorn. Where are they, and why won’t they call you back?

It’s tempting to just select the first contractor recommended to you and hope for the best, but putting in the work to find the right home improvement company will pay off.

Our team has been working in the home improvement and general contracting industry for decades, and we know the red flags to of a poor general contractor:

  1. They price themselves very low – Nine times out of 10, you should avoid the lowest bidder. If a contractor is listed significantly below their competitors’ price points, they could be cutting corners by using cheaper materials or underpaying their workers. Ultra low prices could also be a sign that the GC is not licensed or insured. An experienced contractor will be priced reasonably and competitively, so don’t be fooled by low price tags.
  2. You can’t find them online – We are living in a digital age – every contractor should have a functioning website with testimonials and a portfolio and be included in review platforms, such as Angie’s List. If you are vetting a contractor and you can’t find them with a quick Google search, they may be too new or have a poor reputation.
  3. Their subcontractors consistently complain about them – General contractors rely on a network of subcontractors for specialty trades, plumbing, electric, roofing, etc. If they treat subcontractors poorly, it will take longer for them to secure help and complete projects, and subcontractors will be less inclined to do their best work. Some GCs are notorious for late payments, as well. (We know this from our years of experience – and always pay subcontractors on time. It’s one of the reasons we’re able to work with the best subs in the DC area.)
  4. They seem uninterested in the project – If a GC seems unenthusiastic about a project, rushes through meetings, and fails to take notes or pictures of the property, it’s a sign that they are either mentally checked out from their business or, more likely, juggling too many projects and failing to keep up.


The search for a general contractor doesn’t need to be painful, but it should be thorough.

If you have a pre-sale home improvement project and you need a reliable general contractor that’s trusted by Realtor®s across the DC metro region, email us at