Yesterday we looked at how to score a good home remodel estimate from a contractor. Today we’ll look at how to find out if the contractor you like is ethical and has good work practices. This is a huge deal because these folks will be spending plenty of time in your home and probably around your family.
Ask the basics: How long has the company been in business? How many projects do they average a year? What sort of projects do they have the most experience with? What sort of employee hiring policies and standards do they have?
Learn about contractor licensing and bonding laws in your state. Constructor laws vary by state. If your state does require licensing and or bonding you should ask to see a copy of the company’s current licensing/bonding documents.
Get at least three references from each contractor you’re considering: Make sure it’s ok to call and then call them, although, if you can it’s better to check out the work in person. If the company has happy clients then they likely have previous clients who are happy to share. If the company can’t offer any refs run away fast.
Get proof of insurance: Get the name of the company’s insurance carrier so that you can confirm that the contractor has workers’ compensation insurance for employees, property damage insurance, and personal liability in case of an accident.
Check with the Better Business Bureau: Take complaints filed with the BBB about a company with a grain of salt (some people aren’t happy ever and like to complain) however, serious and/or numerous complaints are a red flag.
Double check who will be doing extra work: Some contractor companies hire outside plumbers, electricians, drywallers, and so on while others have a slew of regulars on the team. One of the biggest issues many contractor projects run into is that the plumber or electrician or whoever doesn’t show up on time or doesn’t do good work meaning the whole project takes that much longer. My friend who works in contractor position is constantly complaining because his company hires really bad extra people (such as plumbers) who make his job harder. Find out how trustworthy the extra worker are and if the company uses a team of regulars.
[image via stock.xchng]