As the bad weather starts to roll in and causes damage to our homes we begin to question who can and should do the repairs to our homes. Here are a few things to look for and to ask when looking for a home contractor to do those needed repairs.
Is the contractor local?
– Many companies, known as “storm chasers“, are based out of state. These companies bring crews with them as well as hiring local crews to handle the workload following a natural disaster. Beware that any warranty claims will be difficult to enforce through an out of town contractor.
Is the contractor insured?
– Ask for proof. You can get a certificate of insurance from the contractor’s insurance agent.
Is the contractor registered with the Better Business Bureau?
– This is important, and under normal circumstances would be the most important thing to look for in a contractor.
– Beware that some companies will register with the BBB and not work under that name. This allows a company to show an A+ rating, as no complaints were made against that name. This is a common technique used by “storm chasers”.
How long has the contractor been in business?
Can they provide you with references?
– Make sure to verify that these people do exist and that they have had work done by the contractor you might hire.
Do they offer a warranty?
– Beware that a warranty means nothing without a company to back it up.
Will subcontractors be used?
Ask who will be doing the work
– The person selling the job is usually not on the job-site, so find out who the foreman will be.
Trust your instincts and do not feel pressured to sign anything you are not comfortable with.
Once you have found a contractor to work with here are a few things to keep in mind as the work gets done.
Working with your contractor
– This should fit close to what your insurance adjustor has allowed. If not, you should make sure your adjustor or contractor did not miss anything. The four most common discrepancies: qualities, scope of work, materials to be used, and unit cost.
– NEVER pay 100% up front!! A third to start, followed by a third upon delivery and the final third to be paid upon completion is the most common but usually not necessary.
Make sure you get a lien-waiver for material and labor.
– Your mortgage holder will usually require this. (Note: If you are not sure what this is please call us 314-842-0960)
Remember that this is still your house and the work performed should be to your satisfaction, just like any other home improvement project. The contractor works for you. Inspect all work before authorizing the final payment.