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Educational Consumer Tips

Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor-Tips

Author: Better Business Bureau

The BBB advises homeowners:   Do not let a contractor pressure you into making a snap decision. A reputable professional will recognize that you need time to consider many factors when deciding which contractor to hire. When looking for a reliable contractor, consumers should employ a contractor with an established business in their area. Ask for references and check them out. Look into the contractor's standard of work and his professional affiliations; verify his insurance; and check to see if he is licensed. Check with the BBB for a report on the contractor.

Do not permit work to start without a signed written contract that includes all verbal promises that were made by the contractor. Be sure that the written contract includes a start and completion date, a breakdown of the cost and the company's name, address and phone number. Also make sure the contract has the full name of the contractor.

If you need financing for your project, shop around and check financing rates, points and fees as well as loan terms with several lenders.

Never pay for a job up-front. Never put more than 1/3 down. Arrange for payments to be made as portions of the job are completed. Only make final payment when the job is completed and to your satisfaction. The BBB recommends homeowners pay by check or credit card, never cash.