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Educational Consumer Tips

Building Contractors - Residential & Commercial

Author: Rachel Gelb
Category: Home Improvement

Hiring a building contractor is a big commitment. It is important to be confident that the business you choose will give you the best deal for your money. Consumers should carefully research all of their prospective contracting candidates to prevent scams. Use these helpful tips when searching for a reliable building contractor.

Tips for Hiring a Building Contractor:

Shop Around.  Ask trusted family members and friends for recommendations. Check out reliable contractors at Get at least three different estimates before choosing a building contractor. Don’t always assume the lowest bid is the best contractor for the job.  

Check the Credentials. Make sure that the building contractor you hire is registered with their specific state’s registration and licensing board. Request a copy of the building contractor’s insurance certificate in case of an emergency on the job. Make sure any subcontractors working on the job have their proper licenses. Have the contactor check if there are necessary permits required for the job. If so, the building contractor should be able to obtain the permits for you before starting the job.

Ask for References. Ask for references to make sure they were satisfied with the job that was performed. Visit the site to check out the contractor’s work. Ask if the job was completed according to schedule and if there were unforeseen fees along the way. Make sure the contractor is easy to reach and responds promptly to questions and concerns. Finally, ask if the references would hire the building contractor in the future for another job. 

Get Everything in Writing.  The contract should state all of the contractor’s basic information (address, phone number, license number) as well as, their registration number at the top. The contract should also include: the estimated start and completion date, payment schedule, building materials, what items are covered under warranty, and who is responsible for the cleanup once the project is completed. All verbal promises should be included in the contract. Make sure there is a written statement that allows you to cancel the contract within three business days. The contractor should also provide a mechanic’s lien that states any subcontractors or material suppliers that are involved with the job.  

Discuss Payment.  Align the payment schedule so the contractor is paid accordingly with the amount of work completed. Avoid doing business with contractors that ask for a large payment upfront; this is a sign the contractor is unreliable and you should take your business elsewhere. Never pay for the job in cash and make sure all added costs must be approved by you first. Do not give the building contractor the final payment until you are completely satisfied and have checked over the completed work.

About the Author: Rachel Gelb is Communications and Marketing Manager for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

Questions and Comments

Comment Submitted 4/7/2015

A Restoration Company gave me a verbal aprox quote for removing mold in the attic, wich I clearly stated insurance may not pay for and I am still in the process of finding out. He wanted me to sign a authorization to preform work that state I am responsible with no price for the work and lots of other blanks on it, He stated this was just so he could work with the insurance company. when I refused he stated several times that it is not a contract.
Views expressed on this page are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Business Bureau.

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