Better safe than sorry spring home repairs

Better safe than sorry spring home repairs

By Dennis Horton

By Dennis Horton

Manager Public Affairs

Better Business Bureau – Regional Office

Your BBB handles thousands of complaints annually concerning various types of contractors and construction services. However, if you follow our proven checklist, it will assist you in making a selection from the many excellent contractors in the area who provide value and quality workmanship.

Obtain two or three bids for the remodeling work you are planning. Do not automatically accept the lowest offer. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications and materials to be used. Ask for local references and inspect the finished projects. Check to see if the contractor is a BBB member or a professional association, which has standards for members.

Make a down payment of no more than one-third of the total contract price. Final payment should not be made until the entire project is completed, and you have inspected the work.

If the contractor arranges financing for the remodeling work to be done, be sure you understand all aspects of the financial terms, especially if a second mortgage of your home is used as security for the remodeling work. You may want to inquire about inserting an arbitration clause into your contract in case of any dispute between you and your contractor. You can always use our arbitration program to resolve any dispute, if needed.

Some tips that you should know BEFORE hiring your home repair contractor:

Choosing your contractor

l Never do business with door-to-door salesmen or telemarketers without thoroughly checking them out before you sign a contract.

l Check references of previously completed projects.

l Get bids from two or three contractors.

l Beware of contractors who can only be contacted by pagers, cell phones and answering services or P.O. boxes.

l Beware of the statement; “I can only get you this price today.” A professional contractor will offer quality and value without using hard-sell tactics.

l If the contract is signed outside the contractor’s office, you have three business days to cancel the contract.

l Never sign a contract that contains blank or unfilled spaces.

l Beware of a one-page contract or proposal. Outline all specifics of the project.

l Space out your payments over the duration of the job and tie them to job performance and/or progress.

l If you want specific services or brand name materials, specify that in the contract.

l The names and addresses of all subcontractors should be included in the contract.

l Identify who obtains the building permits and who cleans up the site in the contract.

* Only give a small deposit of the job’s total cost.

l If changes to the job are necessary after work has begun, amend the contract with a Change Order.

Concluding the transaction

l The contractor and all of the subcontractors should sign waivers of lien upon payment in full and provide them to you upon completion of the work.

l A Certificate of Completion should not be signed until work is satisfactorily completed and only after a through inspection.

Remember “Check It Out;” call the BBB at 815-963-2222 before you make your hiring decision.

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