Sign Of Spring: BBB Tips On Hiring Contractors

BBB has tips to help consumers learn what to look for when hiring contractors.
April 11, 2014

consumer and contractor discuss plansSt. Louis, Mo., April 14, 2014 – If you’ve been waiting for a break in the weather to schedule home improvement projects, Better Business Bureau has some advice to consider before you sign a contract for work around your home.

BBB also offers BBB Business Reviews that can help you find a trustworthy contractor or check out the ones recommended by friends. The reviews include valuable information like the length of time a contractor has been in business and how many complaints – if any - have been filed against the company. The review includes a rating from A+ to F, with F being the lowest grade the BBB gives to any company

“BBB Business Reviews are a great resource for consumers,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President and CEO. “BBB staff verify the details, and we have detailed information on how companies resolve complaints. We’ve also added consumer reviews, which can give you a sense of how a contractor pleases customers.”

BBB’s Request A Quote service allows consumers to obtain information from one or more BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses have pledged to comply with BBB Standards, such as advertising honestly, honoring promises and responding to customers’ complaints.

BBB’s eight tips for hiring contractors are:

  1. Ask at least three companies for bids based on the same requirements. Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor and ask them about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced bid may not be the best.
  2. Ask about the company’s insurance. Does it carry worker’s compensation, property damage and liability insurance? Ask for proof of insurance or for the name of an insurance agent you can call to verify the coverage.
  3. Ask whether the contractor is licensed for the type of work you need. Does the firm meet the bonding requirements of your town, county or state?
  4. Check with local authorities to find out whether permits are needed. The contractor should be aware of any permits or inspections that may be required.
  5. Ask the contractor to provide a lien waiver when the job is completed. A lien waiver is a statement that all suppliers and contractors have been paid for materials and labor. 
  6. Ask for a contract and read it. Get any verbal promises in writing. Make sure the contract includes the start date and expected completion date.
  7. Don’t pay the entire amount due until the work is completed and you are satisfied. Be careful if a contractor wants to be paid in full up front. In some cases, a contractor may need a down payment to cover materials. But the bulk of the money should not be due until the work is complete.
  8. Always check a company’s BBB Business Review at


A BBB video covering the tips is available at

Consumers may obtain BBB Business Reviews by going online to or by calling 314-645-3300.

Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle L. Corey, President and CEO, (314) 645-0606,; Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell),

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. All BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million businesses, 11,000 Charity Reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.  Please visit for more information.