Tips for Hiring a Contractor

10 Tips on Shopping for a Contractor

  1. Avoid work crews soliciting door-to-door.
  2. Avoid a contractor that drives an unmarked van, or has out-of-state plates on his vehicles and write down license numbers.
  3. Get names of contractors from members of your church or other social organizations and check with your local hardware store, or at a building supply store you frequent.
  4. Be skeptical of a contractor that pressures you for an immediate decision.
  5. If you are considering financing the work through the contractor, have a lawyer look it over before signing an agreement.
  6. Beware of contractors who quote a price that may be too cheap.
  7. Ask the contractor for references of previous work done that you could look at.
  8. Ask the contractor for evidence that he is licensed with the city, then call to verify that this is true.
  9. The contractor should carry general liability insurance, worker's compensation, vehicle insurance and performance and completion bonds.
  10. Avoid paying in cash. Pay by check or credit card.

10 Tips to Consider Before Signing a Contract

  1. The contract should include a set of specifications, a description of the work to be done and the materials to be used. In some instances the city will require a drawing to be included in the specifications.
  2. Make sure the contract specifies that the contractor will pull all necessary permits and will post them on your home prior to beginning work.
  3. The contract should state the date work will begin and how long it will take to complete.
  4. The cost for the project should be clearly stated, as well as a payment schedule, based on work due. It is common practice to pay a portion of the money when work begins and to hold a portion of the final payment until all the work is completed.
  5. A good contractor should include a plan to use change orders if you and/or the contractor decides to make some changes from the original work plan. Any change order should be signed by you and the contractor, and clearly outlined what the changes will be and how much they will affect the cost.
  6. Insist on copies of the contractor’s liability insurance and any bonding they may have. If the contractor has employees, have them provide you with a copy of the certificate certifying that he carries worker's compensation insurance to protect you in the event a worker is injured on your site.
  7. The contract should describe all warranties for labor and materials used.
  8. The contract should advise you that under state law you have three (3) days to back out of the signed contract if you decide not to proceed.
  9. The contract should include the contractor's name, the name of the company and the address. Both you and the contractor should have a place to sign and date the contract.
  10. If possible, have a lawyer review the contract before signing.