Your home is one of the largest investments you may make in your lifetime and remodeling can improve its value. But spending as little money as possible, to have your home remodeled, can end up costing you more in the long run. The Construction Contractors Board frequently receives customer complaints on the following issues:
1) Incomplete or shoddy work
2) Double the cost of the original price
3) Projects that take 3 – 5 times as long to complete as planned
4) Contractors who have disappeared before completing work
These are some of the “red flags” to look out for:
1) The contractor’s bid was 40% or 50% lower than other contractors’ bids. Ask why the bid was so much lower and compare the value of other bids in detail.
2) There is no written contract, which leaves you legally vulnerable.
3) Making verbal change orders instead of written and signed change orders.
4) The contractor has no license and or insurance.
5) The contractor does not obtain a required building permit.
Here are some steps to help you choose a reputable contractor:
1) Check out the contractor through the Construction Contractor’s Board and Better Business Bureau.
2) The CCB in your state will show whether the contractor is licensed and has current insurance.
3) Hire a contractor with an established reputation and check customers’ references.
4) Meet with the contractors that you are considering and choose the one with a solid reputation and with whom you connect the best.
5) Avoid using price as your primary selection criteria. The scope of the project, quality, and service will directly relate to the price you pay.
6) You must have detailed plans and specifications to be able to evaluate the value of the service that you are being provided. Until you have these documents you are only discussing “ballpark” numbers.
7) Check that the contract has all the details listed, regarding the scope, materials, and that a schedule is provided that shows approximate start and completion dates.
8) Make sure the contractor is in good financial standing, because if subcontractors are not paid, regardless of whether you paid the general contractor, they have a right to put a lien on your house.
9) Check that the contractor offers a good warranty and that the terms are clearly defined.
10) Consider how long the company has been operating under its current name and license, because a warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it.