Checking out kitchen contractors doesn’t have to be a dreaded job when considering the investment you are making in your home through renovation. Investing a little time in the investigating of contractors will give you peace of mind, confidence in your contractor and the expected end. There are a few helpful steps to get you started and erase uncertainty and doubt from your mind. Sleeping well at night is an added bonus!
Always ask the contractor for referrals. This is the number one mistake homeowners make by simply taking the contractor word and not checking him out. Being victimized is an unwanted reality in today’s world. Word of mouth is the best way to find a qualified and reliable contractor who’s work you can check out. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors who they have used and had good relationships with. Ask questions like what made it a positive experience, how the contractor communicated with you and how he handled problems that arose. The big question is, would you use him again?
The general contractor hires the subcontractors and holds their contracts. Holding the contract means that they are working for him, they are under contract to him and he pays them directly. When you hire a general contractor you only have a contract with him not all the subs. The general contractor marks up the subcontractor’s fee a certain percentage of the construction amount.
Hiring an unlicensed contractor is inadvisable. When his bid comes under the others for your renovation your thrilled, but when the work is done you discover mediocre materials and shabby workmanship. Then of course the contractor is nowhere to be found and you discover why;unlicensed. You also discover you can be held reliable for on the job injuries or insurance. Not complying with city or county codes and correcting problems are all your responsibility when not dealing with a licensed contractor. You can even be held for his illegal acts. Hiring an unlicensed contractor is risky business to say the least.
Licensed contractors however, are subject to laws designed to protect both you and your investment against empty promises and careless construction.
Usually using these types do work out but you must be careful because you do not have the legal protection as with using a licensed contractor. It’s just better to use common sense and keep yourself protected by going with someone who is licensed.
It’s usually easy to tell the unlicensed contractors or scam artist or possibly someone who is just trying to get in your home. Use wisdom and do your homework to avoid the following pitfalls.
1. Unlicensed contractors often go door-to-door claiming they “just finished a job down the street and we’re in the neighborhood and noticed your roof needs patching.” 2. They may rush you and twist their words stating, “If you act now, you’ll get a special price.” 3. Unlicensed contractors either neglect to pull construction permits or they ask you to do it for them. If you do this, you are assuming liability for the project as well as the contractor’s mistakes. 4. Some states require contractors to list their license numbers on their vehicles, their estimates and their advertising. If a contractor has not done that, this is usually a bad sign. 5. If you see a license number in an ad, and it has a different number of letters, numerals and digits than all the other licenses, this probably means it is a bogus license number. 6. Be wary if a contractor provides only a PO box or cell number. That may mean he does not have credibility in the community and could skip town when people start to complain. 7. Unlicensed contractors often ask for a lot of money up front if not the whole amount. Consider this a red flag and try not to pay any money in advance. If you must, keep the amount to a minimum.