Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE (704) 927-8617 office
Checklist: Ten Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Spring is the high season for home improvement projects and home improvement scams.
According to the BBB, the home
improvement industry is consistently in the top five types of businesses that
receive the most consumer complaints each year.
Locally, 96 home improvement
contractors have an F rating from the BBB.
you are planning to hire a home improvement contractor, the BBB has advice for
Consumers should be wary of contractors who promise a variety of services
at cut-rate prices. They may show up at your door, advertise in local
newspapers, or put fliers in your mailbox.
it takes is a business card, a cell phone, some photocopied flyers and a hammer
for someone to run their own contracting business,” said BBB President Tom
Bartholomy. “The contractor who shows up may actually be a ‘storm chaser’ who
is based out-of-state and is using his pick-up truck as an office.”
should hire a local contractor with a good track record,” said Bartholomy. “There
are thousands of reputable contractors who will deliver quality work, on time
and within budget.”
Homeowner Checklist: 10 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor
– Check out a company’s BBB rating and complaint history at www.bbb.org. It’s fast, easy and free. You can also call the BBB at (704) 927-8611
or 1-877-317-7236, toll-free in N.C. and S.C. Customer service staff are available, Monday
through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (excluding 12-1 p.m. for lunch).
- Get at least three bids in writing and be sure you compare the bids based on the same warranty,
specifications, labor and time.
- Check to see if the company you plan to hire has the proper licensing. In
N.C., contractors must be licensed if the total job exceeds $30,000. In S.C.,
contractors must be licensed if the total job cost exceeds $5,000.
N.C. General Contractors Licensing Board,
click on Licensee Search
S.C. Contractors Licensing
Board, click on Licensee Lookup
Insurance - Verify the company’s
liability insurance to protect you against damage. You can also check with the
department of insurance in your state.
N.C. Dept. of Insurance - 1-800-546-5664
toll-free from N.C.
S.C. Dept. of Insurance - 803-737-6180 or 1-800-768-3467 toll free from S.C.
– Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and check them
out before you sign a contract. Do not hire someone who is driving through your
neighborhood, or who puts a flyer in your mailbox and claims to be doing work
with your neighbors. The contractor could be from out of state, using his truck
as his office.
- Do not permit work to start without a signed, written contract that includes
start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done, and warranty
information. Be sure to read the fine print carefully.
Deposit required and payment – Do not pay more than 25 to 33
percent of the total job cost as a deposit. Final payment should not be due
until the job is completed. Do not pay in cash; pay by check or credit card.
Warranty – Get
warranty information in writing on products and installation. Be sure to
read the fine print carefully.
– Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft and damage.
– Check out anyone you allow into your home to see if they have a criminal
online offender search – online offender directory search
S.C. Dept. of Corrections
- instructions to obtain information on offenders
more information, please visit www.bbb.org.