Top 10 Things to Check When Hiring a Contractor
If you had to hazard a guess, what do you think is the number one reason consumers call the Better Business Bureau? According to an article on the Erie Insurance website, it’s concerns about questionable contractors.
Perhaps that doesn’t surprise you, as you may have had a bad experience yourself, or you know someone who has shared a bad contractor story with you. There is a way to ensure you hire a reputable contractor for your home improvement project — by doing these 10 things as part of your due diligence process:
- Check with the state attorney general’s office and the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the contractor.
- Ask to see the contractor’s license and a certificate of insurance for general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
- Determine whether the contractor offers a written warranty for the work it does.
- Request a list of references from people who have had similar projects done by the contractor — and call them.
- Balk if the contractor asks you to pay the entire balance up front and only accepts cash.
- Be wary if the contractor lists a P.O. box instead of a street address plus has a vehicle that doesn’t sport the business name.
- Check out the contractor’s website, looking for things like a code of ethics, before and after project photos, and customer testimonials.
- Ask about the experience of the people who will be working on your project; make sure they have a successful track record on similar projects.
- Be suspect if the contractor doesn’t seem willing to answer all your questions, is hard to communicate with and difficult to reach.
- Require the contractor provide a detailed quote that itemizes material and labor, as well as a contract detailing the cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules, and other expectations.
In addition, we at Authentic Designs & Remodeling suggest you compile a list of reputable contractors before you need one, since your judgment may be impaired by the stress of an emergency. We hope to be at the top of that list, but other good sources are your local homebuilders’ association as well as referrals from friends, family and colleagues.