Whether you are looking to have your home windows replaced, new siding installed on your garage or a pool built for the summer months, it's always important to find a home contractor that you can trust. The Better Business Bureau recommends the following smart shopper checklist before choosing a contractor for your home.
- Be picky and have several options. Seek at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials and labor needed to complete the project. Homeowners should discuss bids in detail with each contractor and ask questions about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced contractor may not be the best. Get free quotes from BBB Accredited Businesses at www.bbb.org.
- Make sure they are licensed and insured. Consumers should ask whether the company is insured against claims covering workers' compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Consumers should obtain the name of the insurance carrier call to verify coverage. Ask whether the contractor meets licensing and bonding requirements set by the state, county or city. Check with local authorities to find out whether permits are needed before proceeding with the work. The contractor also should be aware of any required permits.
- Get everything in writing. Ask whether the contractor will provide a lien waiver upon completion of the job. A lien waiver is a statement by the contractor that all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work. Read and understand the contract before signing. Get all verbal promises in writing. Include start and completion dates in the contract. Illinois law requires that a contract be written
- Remember the rule of thirds and follow it. Pay one-third at the start of the project, one-third when work is 50 percent completed and one-third after completion.
For more information, visit www.bbb.org.