Then check your work.
CredentialsIt's your responsibility.
Don't Buy Everything
Certificates and promises are nothing if they aren't backed
Sure, you could find a great sounding contractor who gives you all
the right answers and even makes you feel good too. But when you ask for those
credentials-license, proof of insurance and workers' comp-don't let it stop there.
A certificate doesn't prove the policy is still in effect. You will need to call
the agency that provided the certificate or license and verify that it is still
in effect AND in good standing.Anything can happen between the time the certification
is presented and when it is shown to you.
Check Out Complaints
Do you know if there are any? Call the local Consumer Affairs or Consumer Protection
offices to check on the contractor's file. While you are at it, call the local
Better Business Bureau too. They will all share with you any complaints that have
been filed against the contractor or company.
Don't Assume All References
Check them out.
Ask for references from past clients-preferably
from clients whose projects are similar in nature to yours and which were completed
within the past year. Ask tough questions of references. The best question to
ask is whether the person would use the contractor or company again without hesitation.
This question is much easier than asking if they are good. It doesn't require
a judgement, just a heartfelt answer.
Check Commercial References Too
Don't limit yourself to past homeowners. Look to subs and suppliers
too. You can find out things from commercial references you can't from another
homeowner. Find out if the contractor pays on time. Ask how he treats his subs,
employees and suppliers. Determine the quality of his craftsmanship and credit.
These will help you in the long run.
Not Comfortable On Your Own?
you don't like the idea of checking up on someone, hire someone to do it.
They are thorough and can find information you might not have.
It's as easy as a click. There are a number of services that
will review not only your potential contractor, but your contract too.
What's Not So
Easy... Checking and comparing bids
One of the hardest things to
check is how good the estimate is you were given. The best bet is to bid your
project to more than one contractor (three is recommended) and compare the prices
and services...and reputation. Just be sure you are comparing apples-to-apples.
You must be certain that each contractor is bidding on the same scope of work
and materials. If one estimates the job using granite and another laminate countertops,
the latter will win the bidding war....but will you get what you want? Remember,
the lowball bid is not always the best idea. Be sure you know what you are comparing...then
make a decision.
Now let's look at some pitfalls to avoid...
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