While assisting those affected by the flood in West Pittston yesterday I spoke to a number of contractors. They told me stories of unscrupulous contractors who were telling people they had to do work which is unnecessary. The extra work cost the families a lot of extra money and benefits only the contractors.
When choosing a contractor make sure you check for the following:
- That they are licensed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
- They have business and general liability insurance; and
- That they carry worker’s compensation insurance, if they have employees.
It is also important to obtain an estimate of the costs and when you choose a contractor make sure you enter into a contract with the contractor that sets forth exactly what the contractor is doing to repair the house. If you change the scope of work later it will cost you more than if you cover the issue at the time of contracting. Make sure you are scheduled for a start date and a completion date. If the contractor is a real professional he/she should agree to be fined, by the day, if the project is not completed on schedule. We are not asking that they adhere to an unreasonable completion date, just that they have one and keep to it. Subtract the fine from the final payment.
DO NOT make your final payment until the job is completed and the punch list satisfied.
Check to see if the contractor is licensed by going to: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/hic.aspx?id=4313 There is very good information at this site, please use it.
If you have any questions, let me know. Most contractors are fair and reputable; I wrote this post so that consumers can beware that troubles do occur.