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How to Make Sure You're Hiring a Licenced, Reputable and Professional Contractor

Jul 15, 2008
Some of the biggest problems with contractors can be easily avoided by simply checking out the contractor first and making sure that you're hiring a reputable, well established and professional contractor.

While most states license electrical and plumbing contractors, only 36 states have some type of licensing and registration statutes affecting contractors, remodelers, and/or specialty contractors.

The licensing can range from simple registration to a detailed qualification process. Also, the licensing requirements in one locality may be different from the requirements in the rest of the state.

Check with your local building department or consumer protection agency to find out about licensing requirements in your area. If your state has licensing laws, ask to see the contractor's license and make sure that it's current.

Since not all states require licensing you may have no choice in hiring an unlicensed contractor. This can still work out if you know what you are doing and he knows what he's doing. The license doesn't necessarily mean you get expertise, but it does mean you get leverage. A contractor will right his wrongs to avoid losing his license.

You can also check out the contractor with your local consumer protection officials. They can tell you if there are any unresolved consumer complaints on file, however, even if there aren't any complaints on record it doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't any previous problems.

It may be that problems exist but haven't been reported or another possibility could be that the contractor is doing business under several different names...but checking anyway doesn't hurt.

If the contractor doesn't have a phone number listed in the local telephone directory that might be a red flag and should definitely warrant further investigation.

Reputable, well established contractors are usually at least listed in the phone directory and many also have websites as well although not having a website is NOT an indication that a contractor isn't professional and well established but an unlisted phone is certainly questionable.

For any state that requires a contractor or tradesman to be licensed they will keep records of the license and this site has direct links to every state's contractor's licensing board. So you could easily call or go online and check out if a contractor is licensed or not.

For some precautionary steps to help avoid any mechanics liens you might also consider checking with your local courthouse to see if the contractor has a history of litigation. You should also check with suppliers and subcontractors about the payment history of the contractor and ask them if they were paid on time by the contractor.

By taking a little time to check out your contractor before you hire him or her you can have a smooth, safe and wonderful experience with your remodeling project and contractor. There are a lot of really great contractors out there so hopefully you now have the information to find the perfect one for you and your remodeling project.
About the Author
Rebecca Noel is a licensed real estate agent and real estate investor. Remodeling houses and home improvement diy are her area of interest. Find out insider information that will save you $1000's on materials and help you get your remodeling projects done weeks faster at Remodeling Recon.
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