Contractor Hiring Tips



Verify your contractor is licensed for the city and county where work will be done.  If you have access to the internet, this information is available at both the state and county level or ask your contractor for copies of his licenses.

Two types of insurance are required, Liability and Worker’s Compensation.  Verify that the contractor you selected is insured.  Your contractor should provide proof of insurance when asked.

Ask your contractor if the people doing the work are employees or subcontractors.  Subcontractors require the same licensing and insurance, too. 

Does the work you are having done require a permit and inspection?  Be wary of contractors who ask you to pull a permit as an owner-builder.  This may be a sign they are working without a license or proper insurance.

Do you require a written estimate for your job?  If so, make sure you include everything you want done when requesting the estimate, changing work during installation or after it is completed can be expensive.  Extra time spent planning before the job starts, will save money.  If you have a smaller job that will be done on a time and material basis, verify the hourly rate before the job is started.

Is the contractor asking for money up-front?  If a project has special order equipment or significant expenses for material, your contractor may ask for money up front.  Your written estimate should include any request for up front payment and you should agree to the amount before you sign.

Some projects are invoiced on a percentage basis, never pay a greater percentage then you feel is complete and never pay in full before the final inspection.  When you pay, pay by check or credit card.

Remember, the lowest price is not necessarily the best price, understand the contract before you sign it.  If you have any questions with any part of the contract, do not sign it until you are fully comfortable.