If spring fever has homeowners dreaming of ways to spruce up their home this year, Better Business Bureau can help them find a trustworthy contractor to do the work and provide them with helpful tips to know before signing a contract or paying any money.
BBB Business Profiles are available on thousands of home contractors, whether starting a search from scratch or researching a company recommended by friends. BBB Business Profiles show how long a contractor has been in business, how many complaints, if any, have been filed against the company, and how the company has responded. BBB Business Profiles include BBB’s rating from A+ to F, the lowest rating BBB gives to any company.
“BBB Business Profiles are a great resource for consumers,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO. “These reports include contact information and detailed information on how companies resolve complaints. We’ve also added customer reviews, which can give you a sense of how a contractor pleases customers.”
BBB’s Request A Quote service allows consumers to obtain an estimate from one or more BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses have pledged to comply with BBB Standards, such as advertising honestly, honoring promises and responding to customers’ complaints. Simply click on the Request A Quote box in a BBB Business Profile and fill out the form with contact information and a description of the service needed.
BBB also helps consumers resolve hundreds of complaints against contractors every year. For BBB assistance, go to bbb.org or call (888) 996-3887.
BBB’s eight tips to consider when hiring contractors include the following:
• Ask at least three companies for bids based on the same requirements. Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor and ask them about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced bid might not be the best.
• Ask about the company’s insurance. Does it carry worker’s compensation, property damage and liability insurance? Ask for proof of insurance or for the name of an insurance agent who can be called to verify the coverage.
• Ask whether the contractor is licensed for the type of work needed. Does the firm meet the bonding requirements of the town, county or state?
• Check with local authorities to find out whether permits are needed. The contractor should be aware of any permits or inspections that might be required.
• Ask the contractor to provide a lien waiver when the job is completed. A lien waiver is a statement that all suppliers and contractors have been paid for materials and labor.
• Ask for a contract and read it. Get any verbal promises in writing. Make sure the contract includes the start date and expected completion date.
• Don’t pay the entire amount due until the work is completed and the homeowner is satisfied. Be careful if a contractor wants to be paid in full up front. In some cases, a contractor might need a down payment to cover materials. But the bulk of the money should not be due until the work is complete.
• Always check a company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org.
Consumers may obtain BBB Business Profiles or post customer reviews by going to bbb.org. Assistance also is available by calling (888) 996-3887.