How to Avoid a Contractor Nightmare

Monday September 30, 2013

By Christophor Jurin

We've all heard the horror stories about nightmare contractors and projects gone wrong and cases like these happen far too often. Roofing contractors not keeping their schedule, not enough workers to do the job and customers left with half a roof or roof repair.

How to choose a contractor

How about the contractor that doesn't get the necessary permits? The municipality finds out after the fact and the homeowner is left with all the related fees and the fines. Or even worse the shady contractor that takes the money and runs. Never to show up to do the work after being paid either a deposit or the entire cost of the project. There are countless versions of contractor nightmares. So what can you do to avoid your project becoming a "Contractor Nightmare?"

Always Get Multiple Bids from Multiple Contractors

No matter what project you are considering hiring a contractor to perform, whether it's a roof replacement or a new deck, always get three separate bids from three separate contractors. This way you can compare the bids to see if they all fall in line price-wise. If one bid is much higher or extremely lower than the others than you know they either missed something, are padding the bid amount or are just bad with math! Whatever the reason that should be your "red flag" that something with that bid isn't right.

Also insist that your contractor gives you a written scope of work detailing what they will be doing and what materials they will be using. If they are unwilling to put their proposal in writing and share with you how they will perform the work beware. You should also ask for at least three references of past clients.

Research Local Licensing Requirements and Ensure You Contractor is in Compliance

Many states and municipalities require that contractors are licensed to perform the work. For example, the State of Pennsylvania requires residential and home improvement contractors to be registered with the Attorney General's office to help protect consumers from contractor fraud. In the State of Florida contractors must receive certain amounts of education and pass stringent exams in order to be licensed as contractors. Research your state or call your municipality. As they say, knowledge is power and in the case of hiring a contractor these are words to live by.

Require a Certificate of Insurance from Your Contractor

Before you sign any contracts for any work, require your contractor to supply you with a certificate of insurance. Insurance is a key element of a professional contractor.

It is paramount that your contractor carries the proper insurance lines such as general liability, automobile and worker's compensation along with proper limits ensuring the contractor can financially cover any problems or issues resulting from the project. Without this coverage the burden could fall on your homeowner's policy.

By following these basic guidelines before your project you can rest assured that you have chosen a professional contractor that will perform the work as you expect.

Photo © Choosing a good contractor can be a daunting task.


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