Readers ask me all the time how to find a qualified contractor to work on their home.

Some write me about wanting to get estimates and design ideas from various contractors and how hard it is to get them to respond.

These age-old problems really boil down to a couple of things.

The contractor doesn’t make any money by giving free estimates and design assistance. The good contractors are busy and have a tough time finding the time to talk to potential customers. They currently have all the work they can handle.

It’s difficult to get a contractor to respond to you if you don’t give the genuine impression that you’re going to hire them. It takes effort to come out to a customer’s house, go over ideas, go back to their office and produce some sketches and a pricing outline if they don’t feel they are going to produce some work.

On the other hand, you as a homeowner are not going to hire a contractor that you probably have not worked with before without some interview process that involves getting their idea but also an estimated cost.

One good way to at least start the process is to visit them on one of their job sites with a satisfied customer like an open house or builder tour. This is a shout out about the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana’s Builders Parade and Remodelers Tour that is coming to northern Indiana Sept. 13, 14, 15. These three days you can take in the Builders Parade which features three new construction projects in Fremont (Lake George), Auburn (Heron Lake) and Angola (Lake James) and one feature stop in Angola. The cost is $10 for the Parade Book to tour the Parade Homes.

The Remodelers Tour is Free and features one historical restoration and addition to a family farm home in rural Ashley. The Remodelers Tour is just one day Saturday, Sept. 14.

All tour hours are 12-5 p.m each day including the Remodelers Tour day. Mark your calendar. You have an opportunity to meet five reputable, established contractors before getting them to visit your home.

Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted at or email

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