Contractor ChecklistIf you are a homeowner or planning to buy a home, you need to know that hiring the right contractor can be complex.  Any type of repairs, big or small, require the right type of attention and expertise so you must be prepared to do your homework to ensure you hire someone you can trust and who is equipped to handle your contract job. Before committing to anyone, prepare your contractor checklist.

Below are Some Guidelines to Follow Before Hiring any Contractor, but Not Limited to:

According to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) hiring the right type of contractor for your job is extremely important if you want to be satisfied at the end of your project.

Search local contractors- Go to your local homebuilders’ association and search for contractors in your area.  This can give you a foundation of contractors who do work locally.

Get references- Ask other homeowners who have had work done and find out their experiences.  This may help to narrow down or broaden your list of potential contractors.  You may find one you never heard of or you may find out a bad contractor experience.

Evaluate your home project- Consider whether your project is simple or more specialized and go from there.  A significant home improvement job or a repair project may guide you to contractors who typically concentrate in that type of work. A smaller job may determine whether you can go with a general contractor.

Secure multiple estimates– Getting an estimate from only one contractor isn’t recommended.  Finalize your top 3-4 choices and secure estimates from them all and then review.  This is not to say that picking the cheapest is necessarily the best.  Find the one that covers all expectations and requirements you expect at a price you can afford.

Once you have selected the contractor that appears most suited for your job in question, make sure you have proper documentation before the work begins.  This should include:

  1. Certificate of Insurance- When asked, he/she should provide proof of general liability, property damage, and workers’ compensation.
  2. Complete Itemized Quote (Materials, Labor)
  3. Contractor’s License
  4. Contract- This is essential and should be outlined to include the cost of the project, the specific job being done, time-frame, building permits, specialized requests for work, and any payment requests.

Warning Signs You Should Avoid a Contractor

  • Any contractor who shows up at your home without being asked is a red flag, especially after severe weather situations that create a lot of damage in your area.
  • The contract wording is vague and unclear.  Don’t sign any contract until you are fully informed and understand what is presented to you.
  • The contractor refuses to provide a written contract.
  • A contractor offers to pay your insurance deductible.
  • A contractor who refuses to provide proof of insurance (Certificate of Insurance).
  • Any contractor who shows up and states you have damages that need repair, yet you can’t access that area of your house, such as a roof.  Don’t take their word.  If you can’t access it then ask someone to inspect the area for you.
  • The contractor asks for a deposit or the full balance before any work has begun.

If you are planning to do a home improvement project or need repairs done, notify us at Burkett & Associates and we will assist you all the way.  If the project adds value to your home, you may need to adjust your Alabama homeowners insurance to reflect the finished project.  Having the right insurance protection is essential to you and to us.  Don’t wait!  Call us today for all your homeowners insurance needs.