It is hard to believe that February is coming to an end, and that Spring season is just around the corner.  If you are anything like me, I have started to make, and review, my “Spring Project List”.  Some of the projects on the list I may do myself….and some of the projects I may contract out to a professional contractor.

So you may be asking yourself, what do I look for when hiring a professional contractor?

  1. In most states, especially New York State for sure, if a company has any employees (even just 1), they are required to have a workers compensation insurance policy covering each and every employee they employ.  Ask your contractor for a copy of their declaration page.
  2. Liability insurance is a must.  God forbid a job goes bad and/or there is damage to your property as a result of an accident.  A contractors liability insurance policy might help you recover from an accident.  Ask your contractor for a copy of their declaration page.
  3. Contract, Contract, Contract.  In todays fast paced world, why take a chance with mis-communications.  If all aspects of the job are detailed in a contract, as well as payment plans, then there is little room for mis-communications, which lead to conflict.  And if the scope of work changes, ask the contractor for a “Work Change Order”, which simply changes the scope of work in writing.
  4. Does the service professional have a “Home Improvement” license?  Most municipalities have a consumer protection department that advocate for consumers.  Many times during a dispute with a job, the consumer may reach out to their local consumer protection department to help remedy any conflicts.  .
  5. Start date….agree on a start date, or at a minimum a date range to begin the work.
  6. Ask for a list of references.  Every professional that I have dealt is more than happy to provide me with a list of references.  And check social media…’ll typically find ratings, pictures, and write ups on line describing the quality of work of a contractor.
  7. And lastly, I want to know how the contractor stands behind his/her work.  Is there a guaranty? If yes, for how long?  Is the guaranty in writing? If not, ask for it to be.

With unemployment rates being as high as they are these days, I find that there are a lot of people “claiming” to be a professional….and consumers hiring these “unqualified” individuals could end up having problems that come back to bite them later on. So if you are in the market for a new service professional, please do your homework.  Don’t be afraid to ask the questions and review the documents listed above.  You will be happy that you did!