Spring is around the corner and homeowners are faced with maintenance, renovations, and repairs. Consumers can save money and avoid problems when fixing up their property by shopping around and learning from multiple contractors.
Experience shows that consumers who do their research are less likely to have problems.
Consumers should know that unscrupulous, unlicensed and incompetent contractors show up in neighborhoods at this time of year, taking consumers’ money, and leaving behind unfinished or substandard work.
Whether your property needs repairs, maintenance or improvement, Better Business Bureau recommends consumers follow a checklist to save money and avoid problems:
· Call-in the experts and compare –Obtain three bids. Ask for and compare detailed estimates for the same work and using the same materials. Have the contractors explain what kind of work is required. If one bid is significantly higher or lower, ask why. Ensure the estimate specifies that the contractor will get required permits from your city or town hall.
· Verify licensing and insurance – Reputable contractors also will gladly offer proof they are insured in case of an accident on your property.
· Check references –Ask for references, and if possible, see the work that was done in person.
· Get a detailed contract – This should include start and completion dates, a description of materials and work to be done, any guarantees or warranties on workmanship and materials, and a payment schedule. The contract should also contain all verbal promises and notice of the federal cooling-off rule that allows cancellation within three days of signing and refund of any deposit paid.
· Pay by thirds – Pay one third of the project’s cost up front, one third when the work is under way and the final third after the job is complete.
· Start with Trust. Find BBB Accredited Businesses at bbb.org.