DENVER – Fall is soon approaching and every season, the Better Business Bureau sees an increase in consumers checking on kitchen and bathroom remodeling companies. Kitchen and bath projects are popular because they usually have a high return on investment.
According to the 2013 Houzz and Home Survey, a majority of homeowners believe now is a good time to remodel (53 percent), and 58 percent of those planning projects in the next two years will hire professional help.
While the BBB sees inquiries on kitchen and bath remodelers rise during the fall season, it also receives dozens of complaints against the industry every year. Most complaints are about work quality, unfinished repairs and customer service.
The BBB advises homeowners to follow its 10-tip checklist when hiring a contractor for an upcoming remodel:
- Track Record. Find BBB Accredited Businesses and check out any company’s BBB Business Review at denver.bbb.org or by calling (303) 758-2100. It’s fast, easy and free.
- Cost Comparisons. Get at least three bids in writing and be sure you compare the bids based on the same warranty, specifications, labor and time. You can get bids directly from BBB Accredited Businesses through the BBB’s free Request-a-Quote program.
- Licensing. Check to see if the company you plan to hire has proper licensing. No state license is required for general contracting but licensing may be required at a city or county level. Also, electrical and plumbing work must be done by a licensed professional.
- Insurance. Verify that the company has liability insurance to protect you against damage. Also verify the company carries workman’s compensation.
- References. Ask for references and check them out before you sign a contract. Also, talk to friends and family to see if they have anyone to recommend.
- Written Contract. Do not permit work to start without a signed, written contract that includes start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done and warranty information. Never sign a contract that has blank areas and be sure to read the fine print carefully. Also, be vigilant of everything you sign and know that anything with a signature can be considered a binding contract, regardless of what you are told verbally.
- Deposit Required and Payment. Do not pay a large payment up front. Stagger your payments according to work stages and do not make a final payment until the job is completed. Do not pay in cash—pay by check or credit card. Also, if your project is a repair that is covered by insurance, do not sign your insurance check over to the contractor.
- Building Permits. Make sure building permits are pulled for the work to be done. Unpermitted work can void insurance coverage and violate local zoning and building codes. Contact your local city and county building department for more information.
- Bonding. Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft and damage.
- Criminal History. Check out anyone you allow onto your property to see if they have a criminal history for offenses such as theft, fraud, or any other infraction that may inhibit their trustworthiness.
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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 113 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit denver.bbb.org for more information.