22 Sep Tips for Hiring a Professional Contractor
With the recent, tragic events related to derecho, we wanted to take a moment to discuss some tips in hiring a professional contractor. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for unethical contractors to show up in communities that have been hard-hit by weather events and other devastation. The good news is that there are laws in place to protect consumers after a disaster has occurred.
If you find yourself in a position of needing to hire someone to assist with repairs or a total rebuild of your home, please keep this information in mind!
- Obtain At Least Three Bids: This will allow you to compare the costs between various contractors. Remember that the lowest bid does not always translate to the best work!
- Where Is the Contractor From?: You will want to confirm the contractor’s permanent business address. Make sure it is someone from the area and not someone from out-of-state. This is often a red flag of someone looking to take advantage. And what is the likelihood that they will be around if something should go wrong with a repair down the line?
- Look at Reviews/Ask for Referrals: This can include checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for any complaints or hearing from actual customers on Yelp, Angie’s List, or Thumbtack. You should also ask your contract for a list of references. Any great contractor should be happy to provide them!
- Get a Written Bid: Any reputable contractor will provide you with a written bid to review it independently.
- Permits and Inspections: Make sure that you ask your contractor if they will be purchasing the needed permits. And also, ask if the work will be inspected after it is completed. Your local government can provide more information about what is required.
- Professional Associations: Is the contractor a member of a professional organization like the Greater Cedar Rapids Housing & Building Association. Professional organizations will vet their members, so these kinds of credentials are noteworthy.
- Proof of Business License: You are well within your right (and you should) ask to see evidence of a contractor’s business license. Also, you should obtain proof of their general liability and workman’s compensation insurance. A great place to determine if a contractor is currently registered with the Iowa Division of Labor is this website: iowadivisionoflabor.gov/contractor-registration.
- Final Payment: You should only release your final payment to a contractor once you have verified that all work has been completed to your specifications, and you have a lien release.
One of the best places to find reputable contractors is at www.gcrhba.org. There, you will find a free directory of local professionals who can assist you. Take your time and find the best professional for your job. Trust your instinct too!
Some other red flags to be on the lookout for when you’re hiring a contractor include:
- Mailbox or door-to-door solicitations. Reputable contractors will be busy and won’t have time for this nonsense!
- Contractors who insist on you signing a contract prematurely. This includes signing something before they have even assessed the project or your damages.
- Requests for sizable down payments, payments in cash, or bids that match your insurance settlement amount. Never disclose your insurance settlement information to a contractor!
- Special “Get It Today” pricing. Contractors should give you the chance to compare bids and think things over. Pushy tactics like this are often a red flag.
If you are considering building a custom home in the Marion, Cedar Rapids, or Iowa City area, please consider Dahl Custom Homes for your needs. We are experts at custom home construction and would love to discuss your project in more detail.