I am a little put out because it seems in just the last 4 to 6 weeks I have gotten a lot more mail and phone calls dealing with bad contractors.
A good housing market can drive less than qualified people out into the service field looking to make an easy, fast buck by doing shoddy work on unsuspecting homeowners. These folks are either doing poor quality work or just flat out doing no work and running with the money.
Either way, people are getting ripped off.
Finding a qualified professional doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Here are some guidelines for you to follow to make the selection process easier, and your decision a better, informed decision.
- Employ a contractor with an established business in your area. Ask for and check references from past customers. By going back 5 years or more you can get a better picture of the company’s work, longevity in the community, and customer service.
- Contact the state or local licensing agencies to ensure that your contractor meets all licensing requirements. While the state of Georgia does not require a licensed contractor for work costing under $2,500, a licensed contractor is preferable.
- Check with the Office of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no adverse files on record for your contractor.
- Ask to see a copy of the contractor’s certification of insurance. Fake documentation is easy to come by so make sure you call the insurance company to verify the coverage. The company should carry worker’s comp, property damage and personal liability insurance.
- If you solicit bids from different companies be sure they are bidding on the same scope and quality of work.
If your project involves more than the changing of a light bulb you should also get a written contract from your remodeler. A well written contract is essential.
- Be sure the contract includes the contractor’s name, address, phone number and license number.
- Detail not only what the contractor will do, but what they will not do as well.
- A detailed list of materials for the project should be included on the contract including size, color, model, brand name and product.
- The start date and completion date should be included.
One more thing before you get to work. Make sure all financial terms are understood and spelled out in the contract, including total price, payment schedule, and any cancellation penalty.
A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year should also be written into the contract.
Whew. I know that sounds like a lot of work but by putting the effort in up front, your project will run smoother and you will be able to enjoy the process.
One more note. If you have an uneasy feeling about working a specific contractor, then don’t. You are going to spend a lot of money sprucing up your home. You should have a good working relationship with your contractor.
This should be fun. Enjoy your new look home…