Many buyers ask me where they can find contractors to fix up the Columbus home they just purchased. They also wonder, if they need to pull a permit for their remodeling job. As you can imagine, there are thousands of contractors in Columbus, but good ones are hard to find.

What’s a good place to start your search?

A great place to find answers to the permitting and contractor questions is the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services. They issue licenses for contractors, they also sell permits, and they have a wealth of resources for both contractors and residents.

When Do You Need a Permit to Remodel your Home?

It may surprise you how difficult it is to obtain a permit. It varies in every City. So the rules that apply to Columbus may not be valid in Dublin or Worthington.  Always check with your local building and zoning department.

The cost of the permit may also vary, dependent on the location of the house.

Here’s a Policy Memorandum from the City of Columbus. It defines the types of permits that are available from the City, how to get them and how much they cost. This document was published in 2009. It is the latest version published by the City of Columbus – make sure to check for updates, when you apply for your permit.

If you hire a contractor, make sure that they will obtain the permit. This should be part of their agreement.

What About Licensed Contractors?

As the Building and Zoning Department licenses contractors, they maintain a list, which is updated monthly. You can download it from their website.

Here’s a list of licensed Columbus contractors as of February 2012.  This is a long document ( 245 pages). Currently, there are 4,274 licensed contractors on this list, complete with their phone number and mailing address.

To search for a specific name, open the file in Adobe Reader (that’s the default program for PDF files), go to the Edit pull-down menu and use the Find function.

Make sure you check the reputation of the contractor you plan to hire before you sign an agreement.

The best resources to find out, how other customers felt about a contractor are:

Feel free to ask me about contractors I worked with. We have hired many different contractors over the years and I am glad to recommend the good ones.