How To Pick The Right Illinois Home Improvement Contractor

man shaking hands with reliable contractor in Illinois

How To Pick The Right Illinois Home Improvement Contractor

The most important choice you can make when improving your East Illinois home is picking the right contractor. Picking the wrong company can mean serious headaches a few years down the road, while the right choice can give you peace of mind for decades to come.

No matter how high the quality of the product you choose, if it isn’t installed correctly, it won’t last even ten years. So you need to know what to look for when choosing your home improvement company.

After you spend some time checking online reviews and have narrowed things down to a few prospects, invite them each to visit your home and proffer a bid. Then, you can really start digging, using the following five characteristics to find the right contractor for you.


Integrity can be difficult to gauge before you get into the nitty-gritty details of your project, but there are a few ways that a company will show its intentions before you sign on the dotted line.

Your first hint of the quality of the contractor comes when you place your first call. Is it easy to get a real human on the phone? How long are they asking you to wait before someone comes to your home? Could you ‘hear’ a smile on the other end of the phone?

When the representative comes to your home, you’ll get an even better sense of the company they represent. 

  • Did they show up on time?
  • If not, did they notify you ahead of time?
  • Did they inspect your problem area, or did they just accept your account of what you need to be done?
  • Did they play discount games with you, or did they name a fair price from the start?
  • Did they overstay their welcome? Were they pushy?

An honest contractor sends earnest representatives whose only goal is to help you reach an informed decision. They focus on what you want resolved and what you expect to gain from the change, and they don’t use discounts to pressure you into a quick decision.

They also respect your need to mull over such a large investment and give you ample time to consider their quote without setting a deadline of fewer than 30 days.

If they treat the consultation honestly, you can reasonably expect them to treat the entire renovation process with integrity.


Every time you reach out to your contractor, you should get a speedy response. You should never have to spend days leaving messages about a change you want to make or a question you need answered.

Ideally, you should be able to get a person right away or have access to your project manager’s personal cell number.

They should also keep you apprised of any changes or upcoming steps in the remodeling process without you having to ask. At all times, you should feel like you are a priority in their day.


One of the home improvement business realities is that people change their minds, especially when it comes to aesthetics. There are so many options available to homeowners, such as different products, different colors, and different hardware, that it can overwhelm them.

Often, they’ll make decisions just to end the search. Those decisions are often derailed when they come across something they didn’t know was available or was simply one more click down from where they gave up looking.

It’s a perfectly understandable part of the process and is why change orders exist. Your contractor should always meet these change orders with a “Can Do” attitude free of grumbling no matter how much the change sets them back.

It’s simply part of the business, and you should never be made to feel bad for finding a better answer for your needs.

The right company will simply smile and place the change order into the system and then tell you how it may or may not affect your timeline.


The right home improvement contractor should be willing to show you their warranties in writing.

Those warranties must be free of loopholes and depreciating coverage that all but disappears halfway through the coverage period. They should also have a simple, all-encompassing workmanship warranty, separate from the manufacturer’s coverage, that lasts at least two years after installation.

If they can’t offer a workmanship warranty, that is the truest measure of their faith in their own workers. If they don’t trust their people, why should you?

You should also look for promises to help you work with the manufacturers if your product has defects. Too many home renovation companies are willing to let the homeowner play middleman while the manufacturer and installer argue about liability.

Make sure you go with a home improvement company that promises to help you navigate dealing with defects in your product if necessary.

The best renovation company will only care about making things right for you and your family.


Nobody likes to pay more than they must, but the lowest bid rarely provides you and yours with the best value. More often than not, a low bid means cutting corners and cut-rate materials that won’t last more than a few years.

What you want to look for is a fair price for superior products backed by warranties with teeth.

Value is a long-term concept, and you need to think the same way. You want something that will look just as great 20 or more years from now as it does the day after installation and that isn’t found at the base of your lowest bid.

That is not to say that you need to accept the highest bid. While you might get great results, that bid is probably not your chance for getting the most bang for your buck.

Your best option is usually somewhere in the center of the pack. Look for a bid that comes close to your budget and includes a high-quality product with strong warranties. 

That is where the greatest value is usually found.

If you have a project in mind for your East Illinois home and want to get the most out of your money, contact us at Mainstream Home Improvement for a free estimate.

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