Finding the plumber, electrician, and tile guy would be optimal but asking friends and neighbors for recommendations has not worked out. I will hopefully have 5 bids and can go from there. 2 of them are from signs posted in peoples yards around our neighborhood so I am using that as a "word of mouth" instead of straight internet searching.
Do you know a local architect that you like/trust? I would ask them for recommendations. A lot of people come to my firm looking for small houses or additions and it really isn't economical for us, so we will refer them to a GC we have worked with who does small scale projects and has a good design sensibility as well as a reputation for quality timely work.