National Consumer Protection Week is March 4 – 10. This week is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and make well informed-information decisions. We will be providing you with daily tips on how to choose a home contractor.
As weather warms up, how do you choose a reputable contractor for all those decks and additions you are building this summer? For more information, contact us at 785-842-0211 or via e-mail at DAConsumer@douglascountyks.org.
Tip #1: Never pay the entire amount upfront. A reputable contractor will not ask for the entire amount prior to project completion. A down payment may be required, but not the entire amount.
The Better Business Bureau recommends : “Never pay for the entire project upfront. Those who do often find the contractor never returns.” https://www.bbb.org/us/storage/70/documents/Watch%20Out%20for%20Red%20Flags%20When%20Hiring%20Contractors.pdf
Tip #2: A reputable contractor will be willing to provide a contract that both parties sign. If a contractor is not willing to sign a contract, find someone else.
If at any time you renegotiate the terms of the contract, ask for updated paperwork that reflects the changes.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests you get a written agreement, even if it is not required by your state. “[The] contract should include who, what where when and cost of the project.” https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0242-hiring-contractor
Tip #3: A reputable contractor will keep their appointments, show up on time and explain any delays. If the contractor continually makes excuses for not showing up or you go several days without hearing from them, this is a red flag.
That said, Travelers.com warns consumers to anticipate occasional delays in a project. Be realistic, and if there are changes, adjust your plans accordingly.
1. Tip #4: A reputable contractor will obtain the proper permits and licenses. Ask to see the paperwork. When in doubt, people living within Lawrence city limits can contact the Lawrence Office of Planning and Development at 785-832-3154, to confirm their contractor is licensed.
U.S. News also suggests checking sources like the BBB and local court records to look for problems with your potential contractor. https://loans.usnews.com/tips-for-finding-a-reliable-home-contractor
- Tip #5: Ask for references. If references seem outdated or out of the ordinary, find another contractor.
- This Old House recommends “calling former clients to find how their project went and ask to see pictures of the final project.” Also, “visit current job sites to see how the contractor works." https://www.thisoldhouse.com/21017791/top-8-pro-tips-on-how-to-hire-a-contractor