Winter is right around the corner which means there’s a lot of last minute repairs and improvements being scheduled before the winter. You may even decide this is the perfect time to finally fix your deck, improve your roof, or get your heating and AC unit tuned up. But these are the last projects you want to risk trying to save a buck on with a cheap contractor. Knowing where to start with home improvements in Colorado Springs is a must. Because of our local hub we are an easy target for under the table contractors.
The nightmare stories of friends and neighbors should always stay top of mind when hiring extra help. Those contractors who proved trees weren’t the only things shady can easily do more damage than repairs. The day laborer whose total disregard for the safety of himself or others can become a liability nightmare. And the friend who forever replaced Tim of “Home Improvement” as the perfect reason not to become a “do-it-yourself” by rolling that rented machinery over on himself. Finding a trustworthy local contractor can pay for itself easily over the years with how hard Colorado Springs gets hit with bad weather.
Let’s assume neither a lack of time nor expertise have you bypassing the do-it-yourself option for using a contractor. You could wade into that home improvement project only to find work left undone, safety precautions nonexistent, and an “insured and bonded” contractor actually means he’s a part-time notary with a car insurance policy. Here are a few risk management tips from trusted sources like the Better Business Bureau:
Estimates, estimates, estimates. Consider at least three contractors and get estimates in writing. Be certain all estimates clearly comply with job specifications, quality of materials, labor and time needed for project completion. Be clear on pricing and never assume the lowest estimate is necessarily the best. Always try to get more eyes on the estimates to get a better idea of what you’ll be paying for.
References, references, references. Ask for them, call them, go by and see the work. If they’re a business, you should easily be able to find reviews on Google or Yelp for peace of mind. These digital offices will also showcase their previous work, or what they specialize in. You might not want to risk a landscape job with a roofing contractor that quotes you a deal.
Research, research, research. Check with the Better Business Bureau for business and complaint history, contractor licensing offices to verify licensing and permits, and their insurance agency to verify coverage. You should be able to find information about your prospective contractors easily, or something may be off.
Contract, contract, contract. Never work purely with oral agreements. A contract will establish firm requirements for a proper job, completion benchmarks, lien filings and/or release, payment schedules (never pay full price in advance) and what constitutes proper completion of work (inspections and a local building ordinance compliance visit). You will also be able to visibly see what you’re paying for and a timeline for completion if it’s a longer project.
Certificates, certificates, certificates. Always obtain a current certificate of insurance for the contractor verifying the existence of the coverage required by the work (such as general liability, workers compensation, and auto insurance). Certificates of insurance will easily distinguish the experienced contractors and someone looking to make a buck on the side. It is illegal for contractors to work on residential houses without proper liability insurance and certifications in Colorado.
Give us a call at 719-573-4155 to talk about how your current homeowners insurance will respond for damage to your property, injury to the contractor or worker, or liability to others such as neighborhood children who see a construction site as the coolest playground ever.