It is always hard when you hire a contractor. Yes, there are plenty of sites that help today like Angie's List for example, but you still need to do some homework. As Realtors we often get asked for referrals and we know many contractors, but it really comes down to about 10 points that you need to consider. Also in Pennsylvania, all contractors need to be licensed with the state and their license number needs to be displayed on any estimate, contracts etc.
1) Personality: It's important to hire a contractor who is honest in all words and deeds. Right contractors show up for appointments on time, present proposals and return calls quickly. Right contractors are amiable and instill confidence that should unforeseen problems occur, they will be solved in a polite, fair, honest and intelligent manner.
2) Insurance: Truth told reroofing and any contracting work is sometimes dangerous to people and property. To protect yourself, always get proof your contractor has liability and workman's compensation insurance.
3) References: "Seeing is Believing." It's best to talk with people who have previously worked with your contractor. When possible get local references with names you know and phone numbers to contact.
4) Better Business Bureau: Contact this agency by phone (215-985-9313) or check their web site for comments or complaints about your contractor to be.
5) Proposals: Short proposals now often make for long arguments later. Job details are important and should be well-defined in your proposal before you hire your contractor for the work you want performed.
6) Fine Print Contracts: If a proposal has fine print wording it's important to find a magnifying glass and read that print. I have yet to see any fine print worded in the customer's favor.
7) Warranties:There is a workmanship warranty from your contractor and material warranties from the manufacturers. Make sure the warranties are well-spelled out. Some manufacturers offer extended and appealing, full coverage warranties for both labor and material. To actually qualify for this type of warranty many restrictions must be adhered to. When reading the warranties it would be a good idea to have your magnifying glass handy.
8) Local Companies: When given the chance elect the local over the long distance company. Service is usually better when your contractor is located nearby. If something goes wrong it's easier to approach the local company to get things back on track.
9) Payment: The customer-contractor relationship is based on trust. The customer trusts the contractor will do the job properly and the contractor trusts the customer will pay for this service. This being said, always stay ahead of your contractor regarding payment until the work is completed. Usually---if the materials are not special ordered or the job is not unusually large---the fair payment plan is 50% down when the materials arrive and the work begins and final payment is due when the work is completed and the customer is satisfied with the work.
10) History: It's tough being in business for a long time; 96% of businesses fold within the first five years. If you want a job well-done by a competent, well-trained, knowledgeable contractor, with warranties well-honored select the proven long term business.
I hope this helps you to avoid hiring the wrong contractor.
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