Colorado in July is a busy place in our neighborhoods, for it’s a great time to make home repairs and improvements. And if you’ve tried to hire a contractor lately, you know how busy everyone seems to be. However, if you’re in need of a contractor, especially after damage from a natural disaster such as hail or wind, it’s important to make certain you don’t get bamboozled by the multitude of con artists who emerge after a storm combing neighborhoods for prey.
Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to choose a contractor, but regardless of how you find someone, make certain they are licensed and have adequate insurance coverage. Here are eight basic guidelines to help protect you from unscrupulous contracts:
- Get more than one estimate. Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, materials, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations should be detailed.
- Demand references and check them out.
- Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and license plate number.
- Ask for proof that the contractor is bonded, carries liability insurance, and covers his/her workers with workers compensation insurance.
- The contractor’s business card should have a verifiable street address and office phone number. Check it out.
- Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later.
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished. Request a lien waiver indicating the contractor has paid its subcontractors and suppliers.
An outstanding website produced by the Federal Trade Commission can be found at:
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