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If you’re thinking about upgrades or repairs to your home, it is important to do your homework before hiring someone to do the work.  Here are 6 steps for hiring a reliable contractor:

1.  Get multiple bids.  Get estimates from at least 3 companies.  Make sure they give you a full description – in writing – of what will be done and what materials will be used.  It is also good to know the permit requirements and make sure the contractor will be obtaining the appropriate permits.  Beware of anyone who asks you to obtain the permit on their behalf.  The permit requester will be held responsible for work that does not meet city code.

2.  Find out if the contractor is insured.  It is good practice to ask for current certificates of insurance.  Not only do you want your property to be protected if they damage it, you also want to make sure their workers are insured.  If not, you could be held liable for any injuries that happen on your property.  You also want to make sure that contractors are licensed when necessary.

3.  Check references.  Ask for a list of at least 3 references for projects similar to yours.  Call each reference and find out how long ago the contractor worked for them, what their experience was like and if the project was completed in a timely manner.  Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find out if there is a history of complaints, advertising issues or licensing issues.  Look for online customer reviews.

4.  Read the contract thoroughly.  Make sure you understand everything.  Ask questions if something isn’t clear.  Make sure everything you have discussed is included in the contract.  Do not sign it until you are satisfied that everything is included.  Never sign a contract with blanks.  Make sure they give you a copy of everything you sign.

5.  Never pay cash.  Always use a credit card or check.  Ask about payment options.  While many contractors require a down payment, don’t pay large upfront fees.  Never pay your final payment until the project is completed to your satisfaction.

6.  Ask about warranties.  Find out if the company guarantees their work.  Make sure any warranty is included in your contract and the terms and conditions are clearly stated.

If you’re looking for recommendations for trustworthy contractors, give us a call at (817) 330-9235.  We have a list of vetted professionals that we can recommend to help you get started.

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