Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. Local nonprofit housing agencies and neighborhood associations are also a great resource (and sometimes they offer loans for repairs or remodeling). Below are some tips for hiring a contractor, but many could apply to anyone who does work on your home.
Get at least three bids
- Get at least three bids or estimates. Make sure they have enough detail, including the types of materials the contractors plan to use, or you won’t be able to compare them very well.
- Avoid “cost plus” or “time and material” bids
- These arrangements can cost a ton because there’s no ceiling on how much the contractor can spend. That should make you nervous!
Ask for references
- Ask for at least two references for work similar to what you need to be done.
- It’s not a bad idea to contact the Better Business Bureau or your attorney general’s office to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
- Check with the state to confirm that the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. Ask the contractor to provide a current certificate.
Have a contract
- Always insist on a written contract that covers the specifics of the work to be done, including cleanup during and after the project, when the work will be performed (time of day, weekends), and how delays will be handled. Also get a list of all suppliers and subcontractors, if you’re using any.
Be clear on payment
- Once you hire someone, you might be asked for a deposit before the project starts, but it should be minimal.
- It’s common to make payments during a project, as tasks are completed. Each time you make a payment, insist that the contractor give you a “lien waiver” showing that the suppliers, laborers, and subcontractors have been paid.
- Before you make your final payment, the contractor should give you a final lien waiver signed by each supplier and subcontractor. This prevents any liens from being placed against your home for unpaid bills.
- Any departures from the original contract should be put in writing and signed by both you and the contractor.
Need to find a vendor, click HERE to access our Preferred Vendors. We are also in the process of putting together a detailed Vendor book to be available in either Print or PDF version. Click HERE to reserve a copy.
NOTE to VENDORS: We use an extremely STRICT “3 Strikes… You’re out!” complaint policy. If you’re the cheapest vendor, in the field, please don’t sacrifice customer service to give the client a better deal. If you’re the most expensive vendor in your field, please realize the importance of making it up in OUTSTANDING customer experience and going above & beyond in your work.