Before You Hire A Contractor
The most common reason that people call the Better Business Bureau? Questionable contractors.
If you're worried about becoming a victim of an unscrupulous contractor, consult this checklist when it comes time to hire a contractor.
To find a contractor:
- Check with your local homebuilders' association.
- Ask friends, family and coworkers for referrals.
- Prepare a list of reputable contractors before you need one. The stress of an emergency could impair your judgment.
Vetting a contractor:
- See if the trade association(s) where he or she belongs stipulates a code of ethics, minimum hours of satisfactory work and trade exams.
- Check in with your state attorney general's office and the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the contractor.
Ask to see the following paperwork:
- A copy of their contractor's license
- Certificate of insurance for both general liability and workers' compensation coverage
- A written warranty for the work they do
- A list of references from people who had similar projects done
- A detailed quote that itemizes material and labor
- A contract detailing the cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations
Be concerned if your contractor:
- Asks you to pay the entire balance up front
- Only accepts cash
- Avoids giving you a written contract
- Goes door-to-door
- Lists a P.O. Box instead of a street address
- Has a vehicle that doesn't list the business name
- Offers to pay your insurance deductible
Be extra careful if:
- You have little to no experience hiring home contractors.
- A disability or injury prevents you from accessing areas of your home that a contractor claims are damaged.
- You're not 100 percent clear about the contract wording.
- You tend to shy away from asking tough questions.
10 Home Maintenance Tips Your Clients Need to Know
Educating clients about how to maintain their home is an important responsibility for remodelers and builders. Warm weather is the perfect time to market your company's expertise. Share these home maintenance tips with your current and prospective clients via social media or your company newsletter.
NAHB Remodelers recommends these tips for home owners to inspect for damage and make sure your home is in top shape:
- Inspect the roof—Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.
- Clean and repair gutters—Clear winter storm debris from gutters and downspouts, and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.
- Look for leaks—Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.
- Clear exterior drains—Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.
- Inspect siding—Look for and fix pieces that have come loose during winter storms.
- Check window and door seals—Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.
- Patch cracks—Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps to keep water out and prevent further expansion.
- Paint the exterior—Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.
- Inspect the HVAC—Hire a qualified technician to service your home's HVAC system to make sure it is running properly, especially as air conditioning season is in full swing. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.
- Check your home's grading—Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home's foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.
Before you build or remodel
WHEN IS A CONTRACTOR REQUIRED TO HAVE A LICENSE?
- THE AGGREATE AMOUNT OF WORK "Labor & Materials" IS $2,500 OR MORE REQUIRES A WEST VIRGINIA CONTRACTORS LICENSE.
- ANY PLUMBING PERFORMED ON SITE — REQUIRES AT A MINIMUM A WEST VIRGINIA JOURNEYMAN PLUMBERS LICENSE.
- ANY ELECTRICAL WORK PERFORMED ON SITE — REQUIRES A MINIMUM A WEST VIRGINIA JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSE.
RECOMMENDED REQUIREMENTS FOR THE HOME OWNER
- COPY OF:
CONTRACTORS CERTICATE OF "LIABILY INSURANCE"
CONTRACTORS CERTIFICATE OF "WORKERS COMPENSATION"
- "RELEASE OF LIENS" SIGNED BY MATERIAL SUPPLIERS & SUBCONTRACTORS BEFORE SIGNING OFF ON COMPLETION OF WORK BEING PERFORMED
- NOTIFY YOUR INSURNACE COMPANY OF WORK PERFORMED AT YOUR RESIDENCE