Interviewing Your Contractor
Before you even consider calling a contractor, you need to know exactly what you want him to do. First of all, go online and see what is available in your area. You will want a contractor that is easy to reach, and if you have to leave a message, how long will it take him to return your call.
Then make a list of the projects that you’ll want the contractor to tackle. If the list is long, try to narrow it down to the essentials. Then pick four or five local contractors and give them a call. Ask each one similar questions so you can judge the one that seems the most honest, qualified, and reliable.
On your list write the contractor’s license number, workers compensation number, and bond number. Don’t hire a contractor until you have those numbers in hand and contact the agency to see if his licenses are still valid or have they expired? Does the contractor have a printed contract with his name, address, phone, and license numbers?
Is the contractor qualified and has he done a job like yours before? Does he have references, and can you contact them? How long does he estimate that the job will take to complete and when can he start? Keep definite dates in mind, but allow for a bit of leeway.
Now that you’ve narrowed the list down to two or three, contact the contractor again and ask for an interview and a price quote. Make a note if the contractor arrives on time, or if he runs late, does he call you to let you know he is running late. If a contractor fails to do that, forget about him, and go on to the next one.
How and when does the contractor expect payment? There are laws that state how much a contractor can collect as a down payment. Make sure you know the law and hold the contractor to it. For instance the law forbids a company from taking over 10% or $1,000 as down payment.
Before you sign on that proverbial dotted line have the due dates written on the contract. For instance, the second payment may be due when they deliver the material. There may be additional payments with the final due when the project is completed to your satisfaction.
Does the contractor hire sub-contractors? If so make sure they get paid. Otherwise if the contractor does not pay the sub, they can come back to you and demand payment or put a lien on your home.
Be cautious, but not demanding, and when they start the job stay out of their way and let them do their job.