20 Jun Hiring Home Contractors
Whether you are getting your home ready for sale or just making some repairs or improvements, most of us at one time or another will hire individuals on a contract basis to remodel or repair our homes. Before the work starts and any payment is exchanged, how do you know if you should hire that person or business? A few considerations –
- Referrals are great, especially from someone you know. But even if the referral is from someone you know and trust, it’s still a good idea to do some checking yourself.
- Does the person have a registered business in the State (corporation, limited liability company, partnership)
- Is the person licensed to do certain types of work? In Oklahoma, you can check the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board for licenses regarding roofing, building and home inspectors, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing licenses.
- Does the work require permits, and are they experienced in obtaining those permits?
- Does the person have insurance? Remember anyone can print “licensed, insured and bonded” on a business card and it may or may not be true. You can ask the contractor for a COI (Certificate of Insurance) and then confirm the policy is still in effect.
- Is the person affiliated with other organizations in their industry, such as Better Business Bureau Accreditation, Homebuilders Associations, or a Chamber of Commerce.
- You need to have a written and signed agreement! This does not mean a series of text messages. At a minimum, this agreement needs to identify when the work will be completed/project schedules and payment terms.
- You should receive invoices that clearly identify work performed as well as expenses. Are they providing all materials as part of the invoice, or are you supplying anything such as particular fixtures you already purchased? How are materials being chosen?
- The agreement should address change orders to the estimate, and how those changes need to be approved.
- The agreement should discuss how to handle disputes such as regarding work performed, any warranties, and what happens if there is a disagreement about the final services or payment terms.
- You should keep a record of all documents, including all invoices received, paid, and evidence of payment.
It’s also a good idea to get multiple bids or estimates for the project. If you have questions before signing an agreement, you can also have a lawyer review it and advise you of potential concerns, or if you are a contractor and need to make sure your agreements are in order, we can address those issues as well.
Having changes made to your home can be a stressful process but doing a little work on the front end before you start spending money can help prevent bigger issues from occurring later.