Hiring a Contractor

How to Protect Yourself – The Federal Trade Commission Estimates that Americans Lost More Than $4.1 Billion Dollars to Fraud and Scams in the Last 5 Years!

Hold On! Not so Fast!

  • Door-to-door salesperson???
  • What do you know about them?
  • Always Use extreme caution – you are about to let strangers in your home!
  • Are they pressuring you for an immediate decision? WARNING bells should go off!
  • Use due diligence and research any contractor before agreeing to a contract.
  • Interview several contractors before making a decision.
  • Consider getting a recommendation from someone you trust.  Call the recommendation. Ask questions. Can you see a sample of their work?
  • They only accept cash? This the number one warning!
  • Can you verify the company name, address and phone number? Anyone can print a business card.
  • Did they provide you with any references?
  • Did they offer you a great price because they “have materials left form another job”.
  • Did they ask you to get any required permits?

Interviewing Guidelines

  • Get the contractor’s full name and contact information.
  • Make sure the contractor is licensed, insured and bonded in your state. Ask for a copy of his/her license.
  • Ask how much experience the contractor has in similar jobs.
  • Ask for a break down of the estimate by costs. Only agree to pay for what has been presented in the contract. Do not agree up front, to pay additional charges.
  • Ask for a timeline of the project from start to finish.
  • If the contractor is using sub-contractors, make sure those workers are also licensed, bonded and insured.
  • Ask if the contractor provides a warranty on the work being done. Is the contractor responsible to fix their own mistakes?

Once You Have Chosen a Contractor

  • Obtain a written and signed bid, no matter how big or small the job is.
  • If a building permit is required, have the contractor get one in their.
  • Never pay the contractor in cash! Always use a credit card and get a receipt.
  • Never pay for the job upfront. Ask to billed after it is complete.
  • If you are dealing with an insurance claim, call your insurance company prior to the work being done to see if they have any restrictions or requirements.

While the Work is in Progress

  • Secure all your valuables in the house. Do not leave them out where they could be damaged or stolen.
  • If you see a problem with the job, photograph it before you discuss with the contractor.
  • Be available when the work is being done, in case of questions and to monitor the work.

After the Work is Completed

  • Make sure all the subcontractors have been paid by your contractor.
  • Make sure the job has been completed to your satisfaction.
  • Pay the final bill!

 

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