Avoiding contractor trouble

Karen Stiles

Avoiding contractor trouble

CREATED Aug. 2, 2011

Are you planning on hiring someone to do some work around your house?

Before the work starts, you may want to take some precautions.

What kinds of problems are people running into?

The main complaints are shoddy workmanship or unfinished jobs, damage to the premises, and contractors that take off with the money before the job is done. 

What can people do to try to avoid some of these problems?

Before you hire someone to do the work, make sure that you:

•    Check out their work and reputation. 

You might also want to check with circuit courts to see if they are involved in any legal action.
 
•    Get a written contract that details the work to be done, estimated completion date, and how to reach the owner if a problem exists.

•    Obtain proof of insurance and proof that all permits have been issued. 

•    Do not pay in full until the job is done.

What should you do before you hand over the final payment?

In addition to making sure that the work is complete, make sure that you get lien waivers, warranties, and if necessary, final inspections completed by your city or municipality. 

If people run into a problem with a contractor, what can they do?

If you cannot get the problem resolved with the contractor, contact consumer agencies, professional trade organizations, or, if necessary consider legal action, including filing a police report, especially if you are out money for an unfinished job.

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