Take the Mystery out of hiring a Contractor
You've done your homework, and you're ready to get started on that next big project. Now it's time to call the contractor. Here are a few tips to help you find a reputable, reliable craftsman to preform the work. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries provide a free service to help you check out your contractor. Click here and check out your Contractor with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries:
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Saving Customers All Over Washington
10 Tips for Choosing a Reliable Contractor
Insist that contractors provide a written estimate on company letterhead.
Ask contractors to provide written guarantees.
Find someone else if a contractor insists on only cash payments or all payment up front. Normally a large project will be ½ up front with scheduled progress payments. Some are ½ up front and the balance upon satisfactory completion. A contractor must provide a “Notice to Customer” disclosure statement to you for any residential project with a projected cost of $1,000 or more, and any commercial project of $1,000 to $60,000.
Are the contractor's licenses and registrations valid? In Washington, all contractors who perform work or who advertise or submit bids in this state must be registered with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), post a bond and carry general liability insurance coverage.
Did the contractor offer you a legitimate business card?
Ask for proof of insurance. In Washington, all registered contractors must carry general liability insurance coverage. (Note: This requirement does not pertain to electrical contractors.
Are the contractor and any related trades persons bonded? A general contractor, a specialty contractor (such as a painter) and an electrical contractor must maintain a bond. Dissatisfied consumers may pursue restitution by taking civil action in Superior Court against a contractor’s bond.
Check to see if the contractor is registered with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
Ask for proof of membership in local Home Builders Associations or Chambers of Commerce. Not all contractors are members, but it helps.
How long has the contractor been in business and can he/she provide references from previous customers?
Ask a contractor the questions and you will immediately know if he/she is on the level. A reputable trades person will never resent you for asking them about their business.