Before you make a decision when deciding to use a Contractor,
there are some very important questions you need to ask.
- Does the contractor have a license? Not just a business license, but a contractor's license. If he does not, there is often little or no recourse if he does not hold up to his end of the bargain.
- Can the person you hire get the permits that you need for the job? Cities and/or counties require a permit for most work done on your home. Do not allow the contractor to tell you that you do not need a permit, or that he has obtained it and it is on file. Call the city and ask them if you need one, and request that a copy of the permit be in hand before final payment.
- Has the contractor obtained workman's comp insurance for his workers? This is absolutely necessary in case there is an injury at the job site. Without the proper insurance, the liability may reside with the homeowner.
- Is the contractor bonded? Liability insurance is a must for running a construction style business. Damage done to your home and/ or property while work is being done by an outside contractor would be doubly disastrous if that person did not possess the proper insurance.
- How long has the contractor been in business? Someone with a long-term track record will be able to give you the piece of mind that they will be around down the road, either to fix a problem or to provide matching product or services.
- Does the contractor have his own employees to do the work or will he be sub-contracting out? It is very comforting to deal with one person on a project of any size, and know that your information and desires will not be filtered through numerous people before the completion of your job.
- Can they provide a referral list? How can you see examples of their work? Is there a web site? Homeowners need to be assured that the contractor is capable of the kind of work they want done, and that previous customers are happy with the way the project was handled.
- Is the contractor a member of the Better Business Bureau? How do they handle complaints? Are they timely calling back customers who have a problem, large or small? This information is readily available, and an accurate resource for choosing someone to work on possibly your most valuable asset...your home.
- What guarantees are provided? Material only, or material and labor? How long are you covered for each? Some of these are at the discretion of the builder, and some are defined by the factory. It is important to have all the information in writing before signing a contract.
- What is my time frame? How long the project will take should be delineated in advance. It is possible that weather may interfere with an outdoor project, and that can be discussed ahead of time. Try to cover as many contingencies as possible, but ensure that your project is a priority with the contractor and that there is a definitive amount of time allotted for completion.