Thursday, June 21, 2012

12 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

Here’s some great information from our Office of Consumer Protection. Stay tuned for more on this important topic.

12 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

1. Check to confirm if the contractor and any subcontractors are licensed or required to be licensed.

2. Read and understand all terms of the contract. Insure that all verbal promises are reduced to writing. Does your contract include:
~ Three day right of cancellation (Door-to-door Sales Act)
~ Arbitration clause/procedure for handling disputed issues
~ Starting and completion dates
~ Work schedule and payment schedule
~ Warranties to cover both labor and materials
~ Contractor’s liability coverage
~ Site preparation and site clean up
~ Signature of the applicable parties.

3. Check to determine if all necessary permits are obtained; this could include building, zoning, plumbing, electrical and/or environmental permits.

4. Check to ascertain if there are any quasi-governmental requirements such as approval from homeowners’ associations and/or historic preservation requirements.

5. Obtain more than one written estimate.

6. Ask for references and check them.

7. Check with your local consumer protection office or other governmental regulatory agency regarding complaints and building codes/permits.

8. Determine if there will be a site supervisor. If subcontractors are used, require a release of liens.

9. Know how to reach your contractor in the event of an emergency, or in the event you have to file a lawsuit.

10. Do not hire an unlicensed contractor.

11. Be cautious of individuals going door to door soliciting/selling.

12. Never allow a contractor to pressure you into accepting a job, and be leery of special/secret/one day/take-it-or-leave-it offers.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree on step #6. My brother found out the hard way when he hired the wrong contractor - he just took the money and ran. It also helps to have recommendations from people you know!
-Jackie @ Home Improvement

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