Things you should know before a contractor works on your home
- Contractors are required to have worker’s compensation, liability, and property damage coverage. You should ask the contractor for a copy of their insurance certificate and make sure it is current. It is vital that you do not do any business with a contractor that is uninsured. If you do you can be liable for damages and/or injuries that happen at your project site.
- The contractor that you are looking to hire should have a few references of happy customers. Make sure the references have phone numbers so you can get in touch with them.
- Ideally the contractor you choose will install, maintain and repair your heating and air conditioning system for many years. You should pick one that has the kind of employees you will feel comfortable having in your home.
- The local company you rely on should be easy to reach by telephone. They should also have a reliable system for reaching them after regular office hours, on weekends and holidays. Although not needed very often, when you do need emergency service, it helps to have it available from a company with whom you are already familiar.
- Get the number of bids that allows you to feel comfortable to move forward with your decision. For some owners, getting up to three bids on a long term, substantial purchase can be worth the time and effort.
Regarding price, most experienced owners recommend accepting the bid that offers the best value – combination of product, service and price. If one bid comes in far below the others, dig deeper before accepting it based on price alone. Don’t hesitate to ask about any details that seem unclear, or even why their bid is lower than others you have. Ideally, this is the beginning of you relationship with the company you select, not a one time event.
- Most states require contractors, even sub contractors to be licensed. Make sure your contractor is properly licensed. Anyone can say they are – make the contractor prove it by either showing you or giving you a copy of it. Remember to check the expiration date. Being licensed is the law. If a contractor cannot produce a valid license, DO NOT HIRE THEM. You can check contractor’s current licensing status with the Secretary of State.
- Your contractor should guarantee his work. Get length of warranty based on task performed. They should also include any warranties associated with all materials used.