How do you find a good contractor?

I have been looking for a good contractor for a while to help me with a garage and they are either:
1. Not even interested to call me back
2. Come over but lose interest in the job (and don't call me back)
3. Or aren't competent
Are there any good websites for looking up contractors, yellow pages, only personal references?
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Aaron wrote:

You are not going to find a GOOD contractor to HELP you with a garage. My brother who is a good contractor is not shy about his pricing scheme:
If he does it = $X If you want to help him = $X x 2 If you want to learn = $X x 3
If you know what you are doing and can't bribe friends with beer then hire day laborers to help you. If you don't know what you are doing then hire a contractor and you drink the beer.
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Ummm, thanks for the smart-alec comment, I meant build a garage for me.

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The best are personal reference. I see a potential problem. You want "help" with a garage. They don't want to help you, they want to do the job. If you need a helper different story, different people. Maybe you really want a good laborer?
More specifics of what you want to accomplish would help us to answer you.
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Reminds me of my contracting days, Red flag when customer wants to do this and that and wants you to do this and that, Solution let them ( customer) do it themselves. Bigger red flag , customer starts telling you all the bad luck he has had with contractors, Solution bid the job so high when they ( customer) turn into a nit picking tight wad and try to beat every penny out if you, you Might still make money. Hear is my advice remember you are paying for someone's knowledge, experience and skill. Another must is check these 3 things licenses , liability insurance and workman's comp. You might be getting more than you bargain fore. Final rule PRICE, QUALITY, TIME any two not all three. There are Honest and quality contractors out there Good luck
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wrote:

Good point. After re-reading the OP it seems like he wants to be in charge of the operation. Contractors generally want a statement on what needs to be done, then leave them alone to complete the job. Isn't it irritating when the boss begins to dictate HOW the job is done when you already have the skills? There's something wrong about #2 because the contractor don't want to talk.
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Yeah you have a point, but so does the OP. Most contractors are unreliable and incompetant regardless of whether they are in charge of the entire job or not. Finding a good one is not easy.
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wrote:

Talk with some local building/house contractors. Do some research. Talk to real estate workers, neighbors, etc. Ask about contractors that can show proof of being bonded and insured. If it's a garage you want built then scan the local area for those that have new garages, then politely ask them. Allow three days for someone to return the call.
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That is just damn ridiculous. But about standard.
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No. It's just trial and error. You have to keep calling different contractors and have them over. In many cases you can do it yourself in the time it takes to find someone else to do it.
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wrote:

See if Angie's list covers your area. www.angieslist.com
They collect personal references for all types of contractors and services from their members and list them for all to reference.
It costs a little bit to join, but I've found it useful. Not perfect, because some people are rating stuff that they don't understand, but you learn to ignore those ratings and weight the knowledgeable posts more.
But ditto what other posters said about contractors not wanting to "help" you. It's rare to find one that is willing to let the homeowner do part of the work.
HTH,
Paul
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In the book, "Principles of Organization", there is a section on "Delegation Of Authority."
If you want a contractor to build a garage for you, you must delegate him that power and authority.
If you want someone to "help", you go to the local section of your town where the day laborers hang out and pick up a truck load.
Steve
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