Consumer Handbook: Know BBB’s 8 Tips Before Hiring a Contractor

May 14, 2019


If spring fever has you dreaming of ways to spruce up your home this year, Better Business Bureau can help you find a trustworthy contractor to do the work and provide you with helpful tips to know before signing a contract or paying any money. It also helps consumers resolve hundreds of complaints against contractors every year.

BBB’s eight tips to consider when hiring contractors are to ask at least three companies for bids based on the same requirements. Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor and ask them about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced bid may not be the best.

Ask about the company’s insurance. Does it carry workers compensation, property damage and liability insurance? Ask for proof of insurance or for the name of an insurance agent you can call to verify the coverage. Ask whether the contractor is licensed for the type of work you need. Does the firm meet the bonding requirements of your town, county or state? Check with local authorities to find out whether permits are needed. The contractor should be aware of any permits or inspections that may be required.

Ask the contractor to provide a lien waiver when the job is completed. A lien waiver is a statement that all suppliers and contractors have been paid for materials and labor. Ask for a contract and read it. Get any verbal promises in writing. Make sure the contract includes the start date and expected completion date.

Don’t pay the entire amount due until the work is completed, and you are satisfied. Be careful if a contractor wants to be paid in full up front. In some cases, a contractor may need a down payment to cover materials. But the bulk of the money should not be due until the work is complete.

Always check a company’s BBB Business Profile, and if you need assistance, visit www.bbb.org or call 888-996-3887.