Checklist can be helpful when hiring a contractor

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By Cathy Williamson

Are you planning to do some work on your home this year? Here is a checklist from the BBB on hiring a contractor: 

  • Cost Comparisons. Get at least three bids in writing and be sure you compare the bids based on the same warranty, specifications, labor and time.
  • Licensing. Check to see if the company you plan to hire has proper licensing. No state license is required for general contracting in Kentucky, but licensing may be required on a city or county level. 
  • Insurance. Verify the company has liability insurance to protect you against damage. 
  • References. Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and check them out before you sign a contract. Use extra caution with those who are going door-to-door in your neighborhood, or are putting flyers in mailboxes and claiming to be doing work with your neighbors.
  • Written Contract. 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 carefully read the fine print.
  • Deposit Required. Do not make large payments up front. Stagger your payments according to work stages and do not make a final payment until the job is completed. Do not pay in cash; pay by check or credit card.
  • Building Permits. Obtain applicable building permits for the work to be done. Unpermitted work can void insurance coverage and violate local zoning and building codes. Contact local city and county building or planning departments for information.
  • Bonding. Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft and damage.
  • Criminal History. Check out anyone you allow onto your property to see if they have a criminal history.

It’s also a good idea to check out the company’s BBB Business Review at www.louisville.bbb.org. It’s fast, easy and free. You also can call the BBB at 800- 388-2222 for information.

Cathy Williamson is manager of the Lincoln Trail Area branch of the Better Business Bureau. She can be reached at 270-982-1289
or cwilliamson@bbbkyin.org.