You’re planning a home remodel or some landscape work – great! Most people start this process by laying out exactly what they’d like, then calling multiple companies to get the best quote to have the job completed. After all, this is your palace, and it should be exactly as you’d like it!
So, you browse the internet and find a contractor on the popular site Craigslist or other internet directory who will perform your job for half of what your other quotes are. Can this be too good to be true? Maybe…Craigslist and other free classified ads are terrific resources for all sorts of goods and services. However, when you’re inviting in a contractor into your home, be sure to ask for credentials before they give you a bid.
Following these steps can save you from theft and liability.
- Research and ask questions. Ask contractors if they have a website or if there is someone who has had work done by them recently that you can talk to. If contractors are proud of the work they do, they should have several resources for you to call. It’s okay to ask for references, and most people expect it. Most small businesses survive on word-of-mouth advertising, so don’t be shy.
- Utilize the internet to look up their license. Contractors are required to have a license to perform work. You can utilize your state’s resources to find these contractors. An internet search will provide you with some quick references. You can even make your job quicker by asking them to provide you with a copy of their license or number.
- Require documentation. Ask contractors for a copy of their license as well as documentation of their insurance. Check the dates on the license as well as the insurance to ensure they’re currently in force.
- Get specific. Not only is it important to protect your insurance from a scam, but to ensure your pocketbook doesn’t get taken for a ride too. Ask questions like, “Is this an estimate or a final bid?” “Does this estimate include parts and labor?” “Can I see where you’re buying the products beforehand?” The more questions you ask, the better you will feel and the more the contractor will understand that you’re educated on this process.
Hiring a contractor through an internet search can save money, but doing research and asking the right questions can save you from losing a bundle too! Would you be covered if a contractor caused damage to your home? Talk to our personal insurance experts about your homeowners insurance options.