10 Tips for Hiring Contractors
1. Check with friends, neighbors, trade associations, and home improvement/hardware stores for referrals. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising.
2. Get a minimum of three bids, then bargain. Question extremely low bids.
3. Is it a fixed price bid (job-site changes are re-negotiated) or a cost-plus bid (contractor does the job, then submits receipts along with new costs)?
4. Don’t hire someone who “just completed work in your area” and offers you a bargain.
5. Avoid contractors with no street address. Check phone numbers.
6. Resist high-pressure tactics.
7. Get a written estimates and references.
8. Get your own loan; never pay in full up front; arrange for payments upon completion of defined amounts of work. Some laws limit the money a contractor can request up front.
9. Ensure proper permits are obtained, paid for, and codes are followed.
10. Make sure you are satisfied before signing the contract and making final payment. (Be aware that some states allow subcontractors and suppliers to file a lien against your home if you withhold payment unnecessarily.)