What Should I Look for in a Contractor

Hiring a contractor to make improvements or repairs to your home can be scary business. You have put a good deal of time, effort and money into your home and you have heard many horror stories about bad contractors. A good contractor will have solid credentials, offer you a detailed written agreement and will not have any disciplinary actions against them.

Make Sure the Contractor has Credentials

There are several different ways to look for a contractor. You can ask for recommendations from friends, go on Angie’s List or simply use an internet search. Once you have narrowed your search down to a few possibilities you will want to make sure that the contractor is licensed with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. You can locate the contractor’s license by using the department’s verification tool. You can search for a company by name, the names of the tradesmen who worked for them or you can see the company’s license number and find out whether or not the license is in an active or inactive status.

The State of Washington is very thorough when it comes to information about contractors. You can find out exactly what the contractor is licensed to do, what insurance company they use and how much they are insured for. You can also see the company through which they are bonded. You can discover if they have been sued, if they have opened a savings account. and if their employees have ever gone on strike. You will even be able to find out if they owe any debts to the government.



Check for Disciplinary Actions

The state’s website will also be able to tell you if they have any license violations.  A contractor acquires a violation if they have unpaid judgments against them, if they have willfully violated a building code or if they have committed fraud. You will learn if any of their employees have filed Workers’ Comp complaints against them and even if they have any debarments against them. If a company is debarred, it means that they are not allowed to bid for government contracts, and this can be based on allegations of fraud.

Write an Unambiguous Contract

If you are having a lot of work done to your house and your contractor has a standard contract for you to sign, you may want to have an attorney look it over to make sure that the language is fair. If the contractor makes a costly mistake, you want to make sure that you can sue them, so you should be leery if they ask you to sign an arbitration agreement. A good contract will detail what actions should be taken in the event of an accident or if one of the parties decides to back out in the middle of the job.

Get Several Bids

It is always a good idea to get at least three bids when you are looking for a home care contractor. Although your decision should ultimately be based on competence and good standing with the state, it never hurts to let a contracting company know that they have competition and that they should give you the best price. Your home should be a comfortable and happy place where you and your family can escape the pressures of the outside world. Finding the right contractor can give you the peace of mind you deserve.