First of all, do your homework and be prepared. Collect pictures from magazines etc. Write down what you would like to have the contractor accomplish. Be as specific as possible.
Get your family together (as appropriate) and discuss how much money you are willing to invest in your remodeling project. Make a list of priorities for the project and share both with the contractor.
Ask your friends and neighbors who they would recommend. BBB is of little value, many good contractors are not members of BBB. Check the company website and industry affiliations. Being a member of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) is a plus, but again, many good contractors are not members of NARI.
Don’t use the various online contractor referral services. They charge contractors for every name of a potential customer while providing very little value.
Talk to 2-3 companies referred to you. How do you feel about them? Do you connect or are you comfortable with some of them, is there good chemistry? If the company going to spend a few months in your home, good fit may be more important than a few hundred $$.
A good contractor will have a well written contract with all details spelled out, including start and finish date, payment schedule etc. Read it carefully and do not hesitate to ask questions.
References don’t have much value because nobody gives bad ones. Call the references of the contractor you decided to work with if you wish. Ovoid casual calls to the references of the contractors you are not planning to hire. Remember, their references are regular people, just like you and me, they will invest their time to talk to you. Don’t waste it.
Be direct, but understand, nobody if perfect (even you) things happen in remodeling. Whatever comes up, address in on the spot and work with your contractor to resolve any issues immediately. A good one will have no problem with that.
And most important, have fun in the process and you will get a beautiful project!