Avoid getting taken by a contractor

Posted at 1:22 PM, Jun 18, 2020

When a storm, fire, or another issue damages your property, you may be tempted to work with the first contractor who offers to help.

But, before you allow work to begin, here are a few things that you might want to do avoid getting taken.

One of the best ways to get great service from a good contractor is to establish a relationship before an emergency occurs.

If you or someone you know has worked with a good plumber, electrician or carpenter in the past, stay in touch with these contractors, and keep a file with their contact information close by, just in case of an emergency. If several people need help at the same time, this relationship could also help you to get priority service at a time when you may need it most.

Watch out for contractors who show up unannounced offering to help you out on the spot at a price and conditions that seem too good to be true. Also, watch out for scare tactics that they may use to convince you to hire them and begin work immediately.

Check out the reputation of the business with consumer agencies, online reviews, and circuit court databases.

If possible, get more than one opinion and estimate.

When you are ready to hire someone to do the job, get everything in writing, including a detailed contract with the contractor’s name, street address and phone number, a description of the services and products being used, and the costs. Also get proof that the contractor is licensed, insured, and that all permits have been pulled. Read things carefully before signing and ask questions.

If changes need to be made in the middle of the project, get these in writing.

Although it is customary to pay a deposit before work begins, do not pay in full until the job is done to your complete satisfaction. It is also a good idea to ask for lien waivers at the time of the final payment.

If you have a problem that you are unable to resolve with the contractor, contact consumer resources and agencies for help.

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