You should ask key questions before hiring a contractor to work on your home. Your home is often times your most valuable asset and you want to make sure the best possible job is done on your home, no matter what the project. Asking the contractor these pertinent questions may make you more comfortable in making your decision.
We have been serving our customers since 1992.
Don’t hesitate to look up the contractor’s license number with the Department of Labor & Industries. This number is required to be on all of the contractor’s advertising including business cards, yellow page advertising, and commercials. Washington State Department of Labor & Industries manages complaints on contractors as does the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau. Checking out your contractor up front can save you headaches later down the road. Here are some links to help you out:
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries: http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Contractors/HireCon/default.asp
Office of the Attorney General: http://www.atg.wa.gov/SafeguardingConsumers/default.aspx
Consumer Resource Center: 1-800-551-4636
TDD users call 1-800-833-6384
Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org or call:
Contractors are required to have worker’s compensation, general liability insurance, and property damage coverage. You should ask to see a copy of the contractor’s insurance certificate. Make certain the insurance is current for the duration of the project. It is vital that you do not do any business with an uninsured contractor. If you do, you can be liable for damages and/or injuries that happen at your project site.
Look for a contractor with experience in your specific type of project. Many specialty contractors also have general contractor licenses. In a poor economy when everyone is looking for work, a specialty contractor with a general contractor license may attempt to pick up work in other areas they may not necessarily have specific knowledge in. Do you want an electrician replacing your windows or a landscaper building your fence?
Many contractors carry photos of their work. How do these photos compare with the type of work you want to have done? Is the quality similar to what you are expecting?
We have several references from satisfied homeowners and businesses. Any contractor you are looking to hire should have at least three references of happy customers. Make sure the references have phone numbers so you can get in touch with their clients. Here are some good questions to ask:
Get a set date on when the project can be started. Include this in the written contract.
You should be able to get an expected completion date. Occasionally there are complications that will come up in projects, but the contractor should be able to give an approximate date as to when the project will be completed. If there are delays, the contractor should have good communication with the homeowner. Any changes to the project should be stated in writing, via some type of change order, which identifies the type of changes and the additional costs (if any) to the project.
Be wary of contractors who ask you to pay 100% upfront. It is not uncommon for a contractor to ask for a deposit, but the deposit should be reasonable for the amount of work, especially if it is a larger project. For many smaller projects, it is not unreasonable for the contractor to ask for payment on completion.
Anyone hired by your contractor, whether it is a subcontractor or a vendor delivering materials to your project, has the option of filing a lien against your property in order to demand payment for services. Mechanics liens (or construction liens) must be filed within 90 days of the time the work was stopped or the materials were delivered. You can protect yourself by asking your contractor to provide a lien release at the time payment is made.
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