Choosing A Contractor

You may be excited about finally getting a project done, but don’t just jump into the process without first doing some careful planning,” says Dennis Day, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the largest and oldest construction trade association in the United States.  “Deciding who to hire to do the different aspects of your job requires careful consideration.”

Day says a good place to start is by checking out a company’s references and reputation. Here is a checklist to follow:

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• Verify the contractor’s licensing and insurance.
• Make sure the contractor has at least five years experience and is an expert doing the type of work you need.
• Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if information on your candidate is available.
• Ask how many jobs like yours the contractor has completed.
• Ask for examples of work the contractor has done on other projects.
• Ask the contractor for references from ten current and/or past clients who have had work similar to yours done. Most business comes to a good contractor from referrals, so investigate these references. Randomly call at least three.

“You should ask the people you call if they were satisfied with the job done, if there were any delays in the work schedule, if workers showed up regularly and on time, and if the work area was well-maintained. It would also be good to know if the contractor held firm to time and cost estimates, how questions and complaints were handled, and if the person you’re talking to would use the contractors again,” says Day.

The contract you sign with the contractor should include clear information on all aspects of the job including the scope of the work, specific materials to be used, start and projected finish dates, and the progress payment schedule. Be sure all parties understand the terms of the agreement or contract. The contract can be used for your protection if the project is delayed, incomplete, or damaged.