When you consider hiring a contractor to work on your home, you entrust your home, its contents, and a considerable amount of money to someone you barely know. Choosing wisely can mean the difference between value or a nightmare of broken promises and poor quality.
Regardless of the size of your project, the principles involved in choosing the right contractor remain constant. We encourage you to take your time and resist the temptation to simply choose a contractor based on cost or first impressions. We offer the following:
- Make sure the contractor is legal. The State of Oregon requires that contractors hold a valid Contractor’s license, a bond that in most cases is $20,000, Liability insurance and, if the contractor has employees, have Worker’s Compensation insurance. Hiring a contractor who operates illegally can have negative serious legal and financial consequences. If an unlicensed contractor should get injured while working on your home, you could be held liable for all medical expenses and loss of work.
- Seek out experienced contractors who specialize only in residential remodeling. Residential remodelers know to expect the unexpected and will factor the unexpected into the cost. This experience can mean a better understanding of what is involved with your project, better quality, and can help keep your project progressing at a reasonable rate.
- Does the contractor meet his/her commitments up front with regard to meeting times and getting the bid back to you? Contractors, who have difficulty with promptness, communication or meeting deadlines at the beginning, generally only get worse during the project.
- Research the contractor’s track record with recent clients. How the contractor’s recent clients view him or her will help foretell how the contractor will treat you. There is only one way to know; call recent clients, a minimum of the last five clients for whom the contractor has worked. We have compiled the most common and important elements to consider when researching contractors. Check out our easy-to-use Contractor Comparisons form.
- The project estimate should clearly reflect your desires. The more detailed the estimate, the better chance that the contractor will complete your project according to your wishes.
- Check out the contractor with the Oregon Construction Contractors’ Board. You can call 503.378.4610 or check out a contractor on line at www.ccb.state.or.us to see if the contractor has had any complaints against him/her.
Take your time. You plan to invest a good deal of money. We encourage you to investigate thoroughly the person with whom you plan to entrust your money. Any contractor who tries to pressure you into signing a contract before you feel comfortable is not interested in your needs but their own bottom line.