Educational Consumer Tips
Author: Better Business Bureau
Category: Home Improvement
If you are contemplating a project that involves brick, tile, ceramic, or stone you’ll need an expert masonry contractor to get the job done. Working with these materials takes a great amount of experience. Use these tips as a guide when searching for a masonry contractor for your next project.
Tips for Hiring a Masonry Contractor:
Ask for Recommendations. Ask friends, family members, and neighbors to suggest a reliable masonry contractor they have hired in the past. Search the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) for contractors working in your area. Check out the contractor at bbb.org and read their reviews or complaints.
Determine the Project Specifics. Most masonry contractors specialize in certain types of projects or materials. Be sure to ask potential contractors about their expertise. Once you have determined the type of materials you want for your project, look for a contractor that has a vast experience in that area.
Get at Least Three Estimates. Present your project to at least three masonry contractors to compare bids. Request that each contractor provides a written estimate that breaks down the individual cost of labor and materials. Don’t let price be the determining factor in your decision. If one bid is unusually low, the contractor may not be using quality materials or providing expert workmanship.
Check Credentials. Make sure the masonry contractor is certified by the MCAA. Before you hire a contractor make sure they are licensed, insured, and bonded. Although a license with the state is not always required for masonry contractors, if the contractor has obtained a license it will protect you against poor craftsmanship. The contractor should hold liability and workers’ compensation insurance to protect all homeowners incase there is an injury on the job. When the contractor is bonded you will be financially protected from uncompleted work or unpaid subcontractors and suppliers. Be sure to get proof of all the documents before the contractor starts the job.
Request References. A reputable masonry contractor will provide a list of references you may contact where they have completed a similar job. Follow up with the references to ask if they were completely satisfied with the completed project. Ask if the job was completed within the timeframe and budget or if there were additional costs added. If possible, visit the references and check out the contractor’s work in person.
Discuss Pricing. Depending on the project, there are several ways a masonry contractor can charge. Ask if the contractor charges per brick or stone, by the hour, or by square foot. Remember don’t make the final payment until you are completely satisfied with the finished job.
Get Everything in Writing. Once you have chosen a masonry contractor put all the details in a written contract. Be sure the contract includes the itemized cost for labor and materials like the written estimate. The contract should also include the start and completion date and the payment schedule. Make sure the contract specifically states which party is responsible for cleaning up the materials and the job site once the project is completed.
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