A couple of thoughts on hiring a contractor
When you hire unlicensed, uninsured help, you get what you pay for - the work of an unlicensed contractor with no regulatory oversight.
When you hire unlicensed help, there's often no way to check on the worker's credentials, registered complaints or quality of workmanship. Should something go wrong, redress is up to you, and perhaps civil court - criminal court if he or she happens to be a crook.
Paying a little more the first time is cheaper then paying the lower cost twice.
Builders without the educational and experience requirements typically required for a license could lack current building code knowledge. Building codes are designed to keep occupants safe and healthy.
Beyond verifying the license status, liability insurance, bonding or other documents required by local regulations, here are some additional pointers for finding good help.
• Get at least three referrals from family, friends, co-workers and others you trust who were satisfied by recent work similar to your job.
• Choose a specialist in the work you want completed - a carpenter for wood work; an electrician for low-voltage lighting; a mason to build a fireplace.
• Trade group affiliation doesn't guarantee quality performance. But membership, which typically mandates licensing, can be considered as a positive factor. Trade groups often provide another level of education, ethics; standards of practice for the professional and redress for the homeowner should a problem arise.
• Ask the contractor for referrals to recent customers, customers from a year ago and customers from three or more years ago to determine how the work holds up. Examine the work and interview the referrals to learn about the contractor's habits, cleanliness, on-time performance and other concerns related to your job.
• In addition to the license check, check the company's trade group status and contact the Better Business Bureau to determine if any complaints have been filed, how they were resolved and if they are still open. A resolved complaint or two may not necessarily exclude a contractor. Look for patterns of unresolved cases.
• Accept only written estimates and contracts from contractors who also pull the required building permits and work with blueprints or professional drawings. The lowest bidder isn't always the best choice. Refer to completed work you've examined.
• Be sure the contract is complete, clearly indicating the steps of the job, supplies and materials, payment schedule and timeline for completion. Don't sign a contract with blank spaces. Don't sign an incomplete contract. Deposit 30 to 50 percent of the total price to initiate the job and to cover most of the contractor's expenses for materials. Never pay the balance until the job is completed to your satisfaction.
• The same regulatory body that enforces licensing requirements can provide you with information about hiring contractors, often from your personal computer.
If you would like the chance to work with me or one of my fellow real estate investor coaches and our advanced training programs, give us a call anytime to see if Dean's Real Estate Success Academy and our customized curriculum is a fit for you. Call us at 1-877-219-1474 ext. 125