Hiring a contractor is something most property owners will have to do at some point. Choosing the right one may seem confusing when you're seeking fast, reputable service. A number of variables will factor into your final decision. And while costs and quotes will certainly be part of your criteria, professionalism and quality workmanship must be considered as well.
The Colucci Law Group recommends the following approach when selecting contractors:
- Check for a permanent place of business. You'll want to gather as much information about potential contractors as possible. Check Sunbiz for their listing. You'll find everything from a contractors' place of business, to their phone number, tax I.D. and business license here. In addition, you can also reach out to us and our team can research for you.
- Request personal liability verification. After confirming the above information, you'll want to verify their liability insurance. A lot can happen when contractors are working in your home or business, so you want to ensure they are fully covered. The contractor can provide you with the paperwork, but you may also want to call the insurance company to verify there hasn't been a lapse in coverage. Whatever you do, do NOT allow an uninsured contractor on your property.
- Consider bonded contractors. Florida doesn't require contractors to be bonded, but bonded contractors can be very valuable. Bonded contractors have paid for a policy that you will get the job done even if they cannot complete it. Narrowing the field to licensed, insured and bonded contractors could expedite your search.
- Ask for references. Experience is everything and a good indicator of the quality of work to expect from a contractor. Requesting a list of completed projects is a good approach, and they should be able to provide it quickly. The best contractors usually provide this quickly because they expect you to call. But you should also ask for a list of a few “unsatisfied customers.” A good company knows that problems arise, and shouldn’t hide from them. The important thing to know is how they dealt with the problem. You can also check to see if the contractor is a member of local/national industry associations, and even if they are on the Better Business Bureau, or Angie’s List, etc. If so, check for complaints, and ask about them.
- Get an estimate. We all want to get the most value for our money, so get an estimate for work, or a services contract, or a work proposal, or any other name for a Quote, should include complete descriptions of the work to be performed, specifications of all damage to be repaired and the materials used in the repair. It should also include approximate start and complete dates/times, as well as detailed information on their payment procedures.
- Get quality control details. Ask the contractor to detail his project supervision practices and quality control procedures. Particularly in reference to any issues unsatisfied customers revealed to you. Also, ask to meet the project supervisor that will be on your job, and how the communication chain will go regarding the project and any issues you may have. You have a right to know the person leading your project, so make sure to ask.
- Review warranty details. Looking into the warranty contractors offer, fully understand it, and check for any provisions which would void your warranty. This also goes for materials, labor, and the overall finished project. For example, if you get a new roof, ask for the contractor’s labor warranty as well as the shingle warranty from the manufacturer. There will be one, and you will want it. Also, ask for extra material to make repairs later. A handful of shingles, or a few small siding pieces, or an extra few tiles, etc.
Feel free to visit the website of Colucci Law Group or call 850-391-7244, if you have any questions and concerns. We will guide you the entire way, and also provide you our list of approved contractors. We want to take as much of your guesswork away as possible. We are here to fight for you, so do not hesitate to contact us!
Cover photo courtesy of Envato