How to Find an Honest Contractor
Judie Docs, Executive Officer, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA), CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM
With winter weather around the corner, home owners may find it necessary to call in professionals to help repair damage to their homes. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that after a natural or man-made disaster, there are people who will try to profit from a community’s misfortune.
But a fly-by-night contractor is one disaster you can prevent if you follow a few steps to ensure you hire a reputable professional. In fact, it makes sense to follow these guidelines when you are evaluating any potential contractor, whether it’s for post-disaster repairs or a planned renovation to your home.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
Price and payment
- Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should not be told that you need to sign a contract that day or risk a price increase.
- Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is common, however, you should not be asked to pay the full cost in advance, before work begins.
- Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order or credit card to a company.
- Confirm that the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for his business.
- Check the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org, or your local building department or licensing board to ensure the business doesn’t have any unresolved complaints.
- Ask the contractor for references for past work and be sure the references can be reached.
- Check out the business from their consumer reviews. Remember, it’s important to take the good with the bad when reading online reviews.
Contract and completion
- Be cautious of anyone that tells you that “a contract won’t be necessary.” Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor.
- Ensure that the final payment is not due until the job is completely finished and you are fully satisfied with it. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, and make sure that is done and you have paperwork to prove it before you make the final payment.
Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work, and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a reliable contractor with an established business in our community, contact the NCBIA.
The North Coast Building Industry Association is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future. So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our NEWLY REMODELED website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090. We also have a job posting board (under the About Us tab). Like us or better yet share us on Facebook!
Homeownership is truly a cornerstone of the American way of life. North Coast Building Industry – Come Build with Us!