Good contractors have satisfied customers. Ask contractors to provide customer references for projects similar to yours. Then take the time to call these homeowners and ask if the work was done properly, on time, and on budget. Find out if any follow-up work was needed and if this was done satisfactorily. Also, ask if they would hire the contractor again.
If a contractor is unwilling to provide references, don’t hire them.
When a contractor works on your home, you need to be protected from a number of risks. These risks exist whether you are hiring someone for a simple home repair, a large renovation project, the construction of a new home or cottage, or to work on a rental property you own.
Here are some things you should know:
It’s also important that your project complies with local building codes. Any change to the structure of your home, even something very minor, requires a building permit. Homeowners are responsible for obtaining a building permit; however, your contractor can usually get the permit on your behalf.
Inform your home insurance company before any work begins. Since homeowner policies don’t cover construction-related risks or theft of building materials from the work site. Call your home insurance representative to make sure that you have adequate coverage.
Having a written contract is essential. It helps protect you from the nightmare of lawsuits that can result from accident, work-related injuries or damages to third parties. Even for small projects it’s important to make sure you’re protected. The size of the job does not limit the liability you face if an accident occurs. And accidents can happen even with the simplest home repairs.
What to get in writing:
Most often, the contractor will draw up a contract for you to review. Don’t sign it unless you are satisfied that it includes all the necessary information and accurately represents what you have agreed to.