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Educational Consumer Tips


Author: Better Business Bureau

When choosing a waterproofing contractor, keep the following in mind:

A properly applied waterproof barrier may prevent the water from seeping through the wall, but allow it to seep deeper into the ground until it finally comes through at the footer or basement floor. Thus, it is critical that a knowledgeable and competent contractor evaluates the problem.

Find out if the company is licensed, bonded, insured, and certified, where applicable. Find out if the company trains its workforce through apprenticeships or other training programs.

Beware of sales persons or contractors who ask for large payments in advance. Contractors generally do not require more than a minimal downpayment. Obtain written estimates from at least three contractors. Compare the cost of the work to be done, the quality of materials to be used, and the cost of financing the work. * Insist that each estimate include the cost of materials and labor, and a statement of exactly what the contractor will do and how long the work will take.

After selecting a contractor to do the work, ask for a written contract in accordance with the estimate. Read the contract carefully before you sign it, and make sure you understand its contents. The following items should be considered: a provision that no change in plans or specifications may be made without the homeowner's written approval; a statement that the contractor is responsible for insuring his employees against possible injury on the job; and details of payment. This includes down payment, monthly payments, number of payments, the total finance costs, and the annual percentage rate. The annual percentage rate is your key to comparing costs for the lowest rate of financing. Also, you may want to include a warranty or guarantee with all the conditions spelled out.

When signing a contract, make sure all blanks are filled in, and that it contains everything the contractor promised. Do not rely on oral statements or guarantees.

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