There are so many resources these days for finding a contractor, getting quotes, and even reading reviews. While it’s fantastic to have access to plenty of information, what should you keep an eye on to really understand whether you are picking a problem contractor – or someone who is simply perfect? Here are five things to check before officially hiring on a contractor. For additional tips on this subject, you can check out our other articles.
1.What types of insurance does your contractor carry and are they bonded and licensed? These are the basics of opening business as a contractor. Don’t work with someone who doesn’t carry insurance, is looking for some “under the table cash” or isn’t even licensed to perform the work you need done.
2. Will they give you a written contract with their CCB# clearly noted, any warranty on materials and/or work mentioned, the price, the work to be done, and any exceptions that would cause changes to either price or work clearly stated? This is extremely important. No matter how great you think this contractor will be – or even how many times you have worked with him or her in the past, you need to have your agreement written down in clear and explicit language.
3. Discuss what will happen if a change to the project becomes necessary. No homeowner wants to find out that their project will take longer, cost more, or require additional work. However, situations like uncovering dry rot or some other point of structural integrity happen. Now what? Find out what your contractor’s policy is in handling such situations and make sure that policy works for you.
4. Make sure the finances of the project are clearly noted in writing. This would include any deposits to be made along with any additional payments which should occur during the course of the project – along with when any additional payment should be made and when the final payment must be made.
5. Don’t forget that if a bid sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s unfortunate, but some contractors try to get away with subpar work and materials just to make a buck. You are, ideally, trying to find a business you will want to work with again when you need the work they specialize in. You certainly don’t want your “repeat business” being trying to get the contractor to fix problems they created.
All in all, making sure your contractor maintains their basic legal requirements, keeps everything in writing, and has professional policies regarding any work related contingencies will go a long way in ensuring you pick a professional who will get your job done.