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Free Tips

Hiring a Contractor

Comparing costs before hiring a contractor is very important. In doing so, you should solicit at least two bids from prospective contractors. The bids should be based on the same scope of work. If the first set of bids you receive address different portions of your home, then request that the contractors rebid the work so that they are all lifting or stabilizing the same areas.

Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor, making sure that you understand the reasons for any variations in the prices. Do not automatically choose the lowest price. One contractor’s bid may be higher because the materials to be used are of higher quality or because the work may require more labor.

Ask for local references and then contact the references to make sure the customers were satisfied. If possible, go and inspect the completed work.

Quote Request

Ask contractors about their warranty. Ask how long the work will be guaranteed. The best sounding warranty is worthless if the contractor who issued it has gone out of business. Many foundation contractors are small companies with limited resources. Even larger companies go out of business when the owner dies or if some unforeseen event occurs.

Find out if the contractor is a member of a professional organization, which has standards, and a code of ethics that is enforced. Call your Better Business Bureau to check how long a contractor has been in business and if complaints have been filed.

Another important point is insurance coverage.Make sure the contractor has insurance for workers compensation, property damage, liability, and coverage on his vehicles. You need to be sure that the contractor has insurance that can cover any liability that may result from an accident. Remember that the contractor is your agent and you can be held liable for any damages, including attorney’s fees, resulting from an accident.

Ask the contractor to provide an insurance certificate and then call the insurance companies to verify the coverage. It is important that you call the insurance carrier to verify the coverage.

Finally, check with the state, county, or city housing authority to see if the contractor has met licensing, bonding, or insurance requirements. If so, make sure your contractor is properly licensed, bonded and insured.

DON’T pay the full amount in advance or in cash without obtaining a receipt.