Educational Consumer Tips

Contractors - GENERAL ADVICE

Author: Better Business Bureau

The BBB suggests that you: *Solicit two or three bids for the work you are planning, but 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. *Make sure the contractor is in compliance with all local licensing, bonding and insurance requirements: Washington State: Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries at: 800-547-8367 to inquire if contractor's registration is current and up to date. Idaho State: Contact the Idaho Division of Building Safety to see if they are properly registered. Also contact the Secretary of State as well as the Department of Taxes and Licenses to make sure they are registered. Montana State: Contact the Montana Department of Labor and Industries at 406-444-2840 as well as the Secretary of State for proper registration. *Never sign a blank or partially blank contract. *Make sure all oral promises are put in writing and be sure you understand all terms and conditions before signing. *Typically, a down payment of one-third of the total contract price is made with additional payments made after completion of each phase of work; final payment should not be made until work is completed and you have inspected the work. *When you sign a home improvement contract in your home and in the presence of a contractor, you have three business days in which to cancel the contract under the Federal Trade Commission Rule. The contractor is required to tell you about your cancellation rights and provide you with any cancellation forms. For more information regarding this rule, we recommend you contact the FTC. *If the contractor arranges financing for the 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 work.