Hiring a contractor to repair the damage to your home can be one of the most important decisions you make as a homeowner. While most contractors are honest and reputable, we have had a few instances where the contractor did not have our client’s best interest in mind. Here are a few tips you may want to consider before hiring a contractor.
- Use your Claim professional’s estimate as a benchmark.
- Be cautious of estimates that seem too high or too low. Make sure the work outlined in your adjuster’s estimate is compatible with the work described in the contractor’s estimate.
- Consider hiring a local contractor. Get referrals from friends, family and coworkers. It is easier to deal with a local contractor if problems develop. Be cautious of door-to-door salespeople who make unrealistically low estimates.
- Get a copy of their contractor’s license, certificate of insurance for both general liability and workers’ compensation coverage, a list of references from people who had similar projects done, and a detailed quote that itemizes material and labor.
- Create a contract detailing the cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations.
Here are a few RED FLAGS to look out for when dealing with a contractor:
- Asks you to pay the entire balance up front
- Only accepts cash
- Avoids giving you a written contract
- Goes door-to-door
- Lists a P.O. Box instead of a street address
- Offers to pay your insurance deductible
Finally, always let your agent know when you’re planning a home improvement project. If you don’t, you run the risk of coming up short if you have to rebuild after a total loss.