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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. .
- Start date….agree on a start date, or at a minimum a date range to begin the work.
- 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…..you’ll typically find ratings, pictures, and write ups on line describing the quality of work of a contractor.
- 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!