and hope that you continue to use us. we have plumbers, carpenters, painters, inspectors, HVAC people and wallpaper people. We have it all and we do give you advice if we know it and to seek professional advice when we do not.
Your most important part is to find a contractor that you trust and one that will do you a good job, sometimes a friend is not the ideal contractor. You want to be stern with them when you need to and kind when you need to.
The biggest problem is cash overruns and additional things that are not on the initial proposal. These things do add up. Be on the look out for that in any contractor.
Be on a payment scale with your contractor like: no money down except to pay for the material when a receipt is given to you. Pay for labor, nothing up front and try to go one fourth the labor paid when one fourth of the job is done, and then two fourths when that amount of work is done and so on and so on.
Too many people give all the labor up front and he/she is gone or skimps on the job. When the labor due is always hanging above him/her, then they work for that and will be there.
Be friendly and offer an occaional lunch and refreshing drinks. This goes a long way. But, do be hard when you have to. Don't let him/her think or know that you are a push over either.