It is one thing to decide to embark on a project, and completely another to find someone to do the work! I think the best route to finding a reliable contractor is to ask for referrals from people who have had similar work done...but this route sometimes comes up short. Another good resource for finding qualified companies is Angie's List, at www.angieslist.com. This is a great website that lists service providers with reviews from people who have used them. I think the reason this site is so successful is that a business cannot list themselves, rather they must be submitted by a client. So you get the real story on the companies listed. There is a membership fee, but you can sign up for a single month, and there are chapters throughout the country.
Once you find people to meet with for a job make sure you have at least a basic knowledge of the work to be done. By googling a question about your project a quick tutorial is at your fingertips. The next project for my kitchen and family room redesign is to have the hardwood flooring extended into the family room. When talking to subs one told me that to create a seamless look from the kitchen/nook into the family room I would have to tear out and replace the perfectly good hardwood flooring in the nook. It would be too difficult to "weave" in new planks alongside the old. Taking this route would have significantly increased costs, so luckily I knew weaving in the prefinished flooring that is in my home is actually not that difficult.
This job is scheduled for Thursday, so no work is being done on my project for a couple days...it is nice to catch up with other work and take a breather for a few moments!!