After a damaging storm, it can be hard to find a contractor who will repair your home right away. Although it is tempting to rush into a contract with the first available builder or handyman, it is very important to take the time and check their licenses. Licenses are required in most states whenever contractors work on structural, plumbing, electrical, alarm, air conditioning, permitted, or roof-related work.
Meet the contractor on site. Have a complete set of questions ready to ask. Make sure to interview more than one contractor and compare their estimates to see if the work, materials, schedule, and pricing are alike. If they are very different, be sure to ask why. This may help you discover any underlying problems that go unnoticed by other contractors.
- Ask to see the contractor's state-issued license and write down the number. Verify that the license is current and active. Check with your local building official about certification guidelines.
- Ask for references. Licensed contractors should be happy to provide you with names and contact information for recent customers.
- Get written estimates from several contractors that include all costs and a completion date. Beware of contractors that promise to be the fastest and the cheapest, this may result in poor quality or unfinished work.
- Get a written description of the work being done, including a schedule and the material that will be used.
- Check that the contractors you hire are fully insured.
- Ask for a firm completion date, including cleanup.
- Ask for a warranty agreement that guarantees the work for a specified period of time and provides for necessary repairs.
The time you take to hire the right contractor will pay for itself in safe, reliable repairs and peace of mind.