(KTVI) – If you’re thinking about improving your home or making repairs, you probably need to hire a contractor. Chris Thetford tells Elliot Weiler the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can help you find a trustworthy contractor or check out the ones recommended by friends.
Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO, said consumers should always check out a contractor’s BBB Business Review, which has valuable information like the length of time a contractor has been in business and how many complaints – if any – have been filed against the company. The review includes a rating from A+ to F, with F being the lowest grade the BBB gives to any company. The reviews are available 24 hours a day at stlouis.bbb.org.
“BBB Business Reviews are a great resource for consumers,” Corey said. “BBB staff verify the details, and we have detailed information on how companies resolve complaints.”
The BBB’s Request A Quote service allows consumers to obtain information from one or more BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses have pledged to comply with BBB Standards, such as advertising honestly, honoring promises and responding to customers’ complaints.
The BBB’s seven tips for hiring contractors are:
1. Ask at least three companies for bids based on the same requirements. Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor and ask them about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced bid may not be the best.
2. Ask about the company’s insurance. Does it carry worker’s compensation, property damage and liability insurance? Ask for proof of insurance or for the name of an insurance agent you can call to verify the coverage.
3. Ask whether the contractor is licensed for the type of work you need. Does the firm meet the bonding requirements of your town, county or state?
4. Check with local authorities to find out whether permits are needed. The contractor should be aware of any permits or inspections that may be required.
5. Ask the contractor to provide a lien waiver when the job is completed. A lien waiver is a statement that all suppliers and contractors have been paid for materials and labor.
6. Ask for a contract and read it. Get any verbal promises in writing. Make sure the contract includes the start date and expected completion date.
7. Don’t pay the entire amount due until the work is completed and you are satisfied. Be careful if a contractor wants to be paid in full up front. In some cases, a contractor may need a down payment to cover materials. But the bulk of the money should not be due until the work is complete.