Protecting yourself when hiring a professional contractor – personal and financial protection
When you’re hiring a professional contractor to perform repairs on your home, you need to make sure you’re protecting yourself both financially and personally. What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means that you need to make sure your contractor has a business license and is registered in the state and/or city where they’re servicing. Every state in the country has their own specific rules and regulations regarding the licensing requirements of certain businesses. Make sure the contractor you hire has a business license, and meets the requirements of the state, so you can give yourself peace of mind as to the level of their professionalism.
Check on The Professional Contractors Credentials
Since you will be investing a great deal of money into a home repair service, it is always a good idea to make sure the contractor you hire has the most credentials possible. You don’t want to hire someone who truly doesn’t have the skillset to perform their job well. Just because they have a business license, it doesn’t always guarantee their level of experience at home improvement jobs. So, it wouldn’t hurt to find a contractor who has an actual contractor’s license just to give yourself that extra bit of reassurance.
Permits May be Needed
The last thing that you’ll want is to be left with low quality work because then you’ll need to hire someone else to do it properly all over again. This will just mean more time and money spent that didn’t need to be spent if you had just hired the right person the first time. Besides, if the home project you need to be done requires a building permit of some kind, an unlicensed worker won’t be able to get it. This will result in the building inspector putting a halt on your project until there is a licensed contractor involved who can get the right building permits.
Do the Research
Meanwhile, all the money you invested in the contractor and the project will be for nothing. In most states, there is very little that a homeowner can do if their contractor creates a problem or does a lousy job. So, you need to protect yourself by thoroughly researching the contractor which you’re thinking about hiring. This means going to your local government’s business services website and searching for the contractor’s business license information. This is public information, so you have the right to look it up. Also, check the internet for reviews of the contractor that were left by previous customers and see if they were positive. If so, then they’re likely trustworthy if they’re licensed.
Importance of the Professional Contractor Being Bonded
However, having a licensed contractor isn’t the only thing you need to ensure. Your contractor needs to be fully bonded by a third-party company or organization. Bonding is important for a contractor to have because it protects you as the customer. If your contractor were to do a bad job on your home and their work ends up hurting you financially, the bond they have will actually reimburse you for the expenses which result from you having to hire another contractor to fix the bad work that your current contractor performed. The bond also protects you financially if your contractor fails at their own financial responsibilities in the course of the job, such as failing to pay their subcontractors or failure to purchase building permits.
Is the Professional Contractor Insured
Finally, you need to make sure your contractors are insured. Do not confuse insurance with bonding because they are two different things. While bonding will pay for the expenses which result from a contractor’s bad work, insurance covers the expenses caused from actual property damage to your home as well as any personal injuries you endure from that damage. Contractors should have a separate insurance policy for workers’ compensation too. This covers the employees of the contractor in case they get injured on your property.
If you don’t have a specific insurance policy of your own to cover when people get hurt on your property, then you’ll end up paying for their medical bills out of your own pocket. Therefore, make sure your contractor has their own insurance policy to cover themselves and their workers if they get hurt on your property.
Limit the Deposit You Pay the Contractor
Instead of paying 50 percent down or more, be sure to protect yourself, but also be fair the contractor. It is fair for the contractor to want the materials for the project paid for right away. However it is much safer financially for you to pay for the materials when they are delivered to your home. Then make progress payments to the contractor for certain agreed upon milestones. By doing business in this manner, you are protected, and so is the contractor. Using credit cards for payment is another way of adding a layer of financial protection.