What are some tips for choosing a contractor?
Adding a room, renovating a basement, replacing your roof, or doing some much-needed repairs? Finding a good contractor is important. Here are 5 tips from our Building Inspections Department on how to hire a contractor:
1 – Check for qualifications, like licensing - Look for a contractor who has been in business for a while, someone who is licensed and registered, has insurance, and a solid reputation. Be sure to obtain copies of these documents. The status of a contractor's license can be checked online at secure.doli.state.mn.us/lookup/licensing.aspx.
2 – Do your research – Check with friends, neighbors, or coworkers who’ve used a contractor. Ask if the contractor showed up on time, finished on time, and if there were unexpected costs. And, always ask for references.
3 - Get estimates – It’s good to get estimates from at least 3 different companies. Be wary of someone who comes in several thousand dollars below the others or asks you to obtain the permit in order to save on the cost of the project. Most often, these contractors are cutting corners somewhere or using cheaper materials.
4 - Read the contract before signing it – Every project should have a contract, and every detail about the project should be included in this contract – from a project schedule, to description of work, to materials to be used, to payment schedule. Remember not all materials are the same quality.
5 – How you pay is as important as how much – Don’t pay a contractor until they deliver materials or have provided a service. If you are asked to pay them, ensure you have received something equivalent to that value. Make sure yo obtain lien waivers or receipts depicting payment for the materials the contractor has furnished from his supplier. Make periodic payments as the contactor completes certain portions of the project. This is the best way to ensure that the work gets done when and how you want it.
View more information at dli.mn.gov/workers/homeowners or feel free to call us with any other building questions at 952-882-2650.