As a Rhode Island Home Inspector, I have, over the years, built a network of trusted tradesman and other professionals. Call or e-mail me and just ask I will not steer you wrong. This network is a valuable tool for me and my clients. I know who does a quality job, because I’ve seen it, before and after in many cases. I will only refer local Rhode Island based contractors.
Unless you are in construction, it can be a daunting task to hire a contractor to repair or remodel your home. There’s the fear of being over charged. There’s also the concern of having a guy who doesn’t know enough or doesn’t care enough to do a quality job. Also you’ve heard the horror stories of the guys who never finish, show up drunk, ruin your home, or disappear with your deposit.
Here are some tips from a qualified contractor to help you get what you deserve when you make a hire.
Ask people you know.
If you are one of my clients, a client for life, call me and ask. That’s a service I provide, quality referrals. No RI contractor can get on my personal referral list unless I know they are absolutely the best. I will not steer you wrong. I have been in the business and community for years and know who is good (and not so good). If not, ask friends and co-workers. Folks are quick to give feedback, ask them. In Rhode Island, it seems as if if you ask a few friends, someone will know about the contractor.
Always get three estimates on big jobs.
You can get a feel for a guy or company during the estimate (sometimes during the phone call), it’s a job interview and many contractors know you will get more than one quote. If you feel uneasy at all, go elsewhere. Also you will get an idea on what the rates for that type of work are. You may get prices that vary greatly, you can ask why so much more or less one guy is compared to the next. Be careful about the lowest price guy, he often times needs to cut corners to meet the lowered quote.
Always use RI licensed or registered contractors
Rhode Island has contractor licensing and registration for a reason. To protect YOU. Hire licensed profesionals. These guys who operate illegally, not licensed or registered contractors leave you no recourse to recover funds or make them fix a botched job. Saving a little can cost you a lot more. Hire a pro.
Sleep on it, if it isn’t too pressing.
Although contractor estimates are generally only good for 30-60 days, don’t feel pressured to go right away, sleep on it. Look over the info at your leisure then when comfortable make a hire.
Check them out.
Check the local contractors board, trade association, etc…it doesn’t take long and can’t hurt.
Get it in writing
Any contractor should be able to write you a formal quote, and authorization to begin work, I know for a fact the RI contractors board strongly recommends it for any job that will total over $1000. In this paperwork, the scope of work, the timeline to completion, are they using subs, and fees should be clearly defined. Read it carefully and ask any questions before giving him the green light to start. If you need other items in there like timeline to finish job, info on sub contractors used etc… (you do)…get it all up front.
Make sure he has everything he needs
Is he licensed? Is he insured? Is he a registered contractor? Is he experienced? Make sure the work is permitted (by permitted I mean go to the municipality and pull a permit to do the work, it should be posted on site for the duration of the project). Is he allowed to perform the scope of work you request be done? Dont be shy, I get asked for my insurance on occasion too. It shouldn’t upset any legitemate contractor if you ask for his paperwork.
Get references and pictures of similar work.
Any contractor should be able to provide these as well. Ask for them.
Mike Auger Certified Master Inspector Rhode Island Home Inspector Auger Enterprises, Inc. RI Home Inspections email@example.com (401) 578 – 4878 RICB # 32856 NACHI # 110606065