Steps for Hiring Service Professionals
A few words of caution, when you find the need to hire a contractor or service professional and if they claim to be bonded, licensed, and insured insist that they show you proof of the licenses, and keep copies of them to protect yourself. Then check the licenses out to make sure they are still in effect. Several states do not require a person be licensed if the job they are doing is below a certain amount.
Also if the company you are hiring uses subcontractors, make sure they have been paid before you give them the final payment. This is very important because if the contractor does not pay the sub, the sub can come back and sue the homeowner for the money even though you paid the contractor that part of the job. After the job is completed you should insist on a signed release from all sub-contractors. This is not necessary when a person is on the payroll of the business.
As for the insurance part, if the professional does not have insurance, you will be obligated to pay for all expenses if the person is hurt on the job. Insurance companies provide service professionals with the proper information naming you as the homeowner and that they guarantee that the contractor is in good standing.
Before they step one foot on your property to begin the job, have a contract with the firm’s name clearly printed at the top with the name, address, phone numbers, license numbers, and workers compensation number.
The contract needs to include the work that will done, and dollar amounts, a start date and approximate date for completion. Payment schedule should include the start, at least one mid payment like when material is delivered to your home, and the final payment when the job is completed to your satisfaction. Never pay a person or company in full before the job begins, however they usually ask for $1000.00 or 10% which ever is less. Workers Compensation insists on this amount.
Never write a check or pay cash to the person doing the job. The check should be made out to the company, never an individual. In today’s world a small contractor may not have the funds to pay for materials, but has met all the above requirements. If this is the case, you should ask for a receipt of the materials purchased and pay for that amount after the material has been delivered to your home.
Last but certainly not least, insist on references, and check them out. Do your homework, and expect all the contract promises.
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