Ask BBB: Hiring a Contractor

April 28, 2011
Question:  I need to have work done on my home for the summer.  What should I look for when hiring a contractor?

To ensure that you don’t need third party help resolving an issue, there are a few easy steps you can take before hiring a contractor. As with any major purchase, you should conduct pre-market research prior to hiring a contractor. Always check with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) to verify the contractor’s licensing is current and ask the company to provide proof that they are bonded and insured. Contact your BBB and the ROC to verify that they’ve attempted to resolve reported problems and don’t forget to ask for, and verify, references.   Once you’re satisfied with the company’s background, be sure to solidify your work agreement with a contract.  Never enter into a verbal agreement – get everything in writing.  Make sure the contract you’re signing is legible and dated, includes contact information, the payment plan and price, a detailed description of work to be performed, the completion date, and both parties’ signatures. Never sign a blank contract.

After work commences, be sure to keep copies of written checks and bank statements as proof of payment.  Never pay for work with cash.  Obtain a formal account statement from the contractor that outlines services performed, payments, and invoice numbers.  You may think this is a lot of work to go through prior to hiring a contractor, but covering your bases beforehand can save you time and money if something goes wrong during your project.  Contact the ROC at (520) 628-6345.