Avoid Having to 'Re-do' Remodels, Home Repairs

Better Business Bureau Helps Consumers Find Reputable Workers
June 03, 2014

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 60 percent of home owners hired professional contractors to perform work in 2011. And with consumers each spending an average of $4,000 per year on home repairs, this large industry attracts a lot of companies—good and bad. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington advises remodelers about choosing the right tools for pricey jobs to avoid costly re-do's of shoddy work.

  • Research credentials. Check for permanent places of business, telephone numbers, tax ID numbers and business licenses. Make sure businesses are financially stable and ask for proof.
  • Verify insurance coverage. Ask to see copies of liability coverage and workers’ compensation certificates. If contractors aren’t properly insured, home owners may be liable for accidents that happen on their properties; ensure that coverage runs through job completions.
  • Examine licensing and bonding. Licenses protect consumers and payment bonds will insure liens cannot be placed on homes if subcontractors do not get paid.
  • Ask about reputations. Ask contractors for lists of completed projects and double-check with previous customers. Verified customer reviews on local businesses are available at bbb.org.
  • Read the fine print. Carefully read and understand contracts; look over warranties and any provisions that may void them. Once contracts have been signed, make sure all changes are in writing—never rely on verbal agreements.
  • Avoid large upfront payments. Initial payments should not exceed $1,000 or 10 percent of total contracts and only pay for work that has been satisfactorily completed.

Consumers should avoid contractors who use high-pressure sales tactics, refuse to give written estimates or contracts, fail to get proper permits or require full or substantial payments before the work begins. Remember, the lowest price is not necessarily the best.

Finding the right company for the right job takes a little work, but will be worth it in the end. Oregonians can visit the Construction Contractors Board and Washingtonians can visit the Labor & Industries ProtectMyHome page for tips on hiring smart; everyone can visit the BBB Accredited Business online directory to find local reputable contractors.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, founded in 1918 and serving more than 9 million consumers, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2014, people turned to BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington more than 5 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 264,000 local businesses and for Charity Reports on more than 1,200 local charities, all available for free at akorww.bbb.org.