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Contractor Checklist

This blog post is intended as a checklist / advice section for hiring a contractor.

So yesterday evening I went to look at a job fairly close to home (thank goodness). As I arrived I was met by the homeowner who greeted me and swapped greetings and I handed him my card. After that the homeowner said “I’ve got two bids so far, you’re the third. The price you need to beat is $ ???? (didn’t want to fill in exact amount)”

At that point our meeting fizzled out after discovering he wanted the “low bid”.

So to clarify, the low bid isn’t always the “worst” or the “best”. For some people their only stipulation for hiring a contractor is the price. Big mistake.

Here’s why;

After 20 + years in business I’ve seen a lot (started to say I’ve seen it all). We have fixed countless projects that these “low bid” contractors started and either:

  • didn’t finish
  • took a deposit and did shoddy (nice term) work only to leave before they finished
  • did shoddy work, called it finished, and either got paid and left, or homeowner only paid part or all after they “completed” the job.

Here are some guidelines in hiring a contractor.

  • Make sure you are comfortable with contractor you are hiring. They will be working in or around your home so trust is important.
  • Communication – Make sure from the onset of process they communicate well with you about bid, details, scheduling, etc.
  • Insurance – Do they carry required insurance? Ask them or ask for a certificate of insurance to be emailed or mailed from their agent if you want to be sure.
  • Better Business Bureau- Check their record, complaints, etc.
  • Licensing- some trades require contractor to be licensed in their field of expertise.
  • References – get references of jobs and clients. Check them out. they should have more than just a few and if they are legitimate be more than happy for you to call their references.
  • Get detailed contact of work to be performed.
  • Make sure each contractor has same guidelines to job. ~Compare materials to be used, ask about quality of materials, warranty of material, warranty on the contactor’s labor, and any other pertinent questions you want to ask.
  • Get three estimates.
  • After deciding on contractor take the time to call other two and let them know. This is common courtesy after they’ve taken their time and put forth the effort to bid your project.

I hope you are successful in hiring your next contractor and this helps.