Editorial: Do research before hiring a contractor
With summer storms, comes damage. And with damage, comes repair – and shady characters that will try to rip you off with shoddy or uncompleted work.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry reminds homeowners to do their homework before hiring a building contractor after a storm or anytime of the year.
The single best piece of advice is to hire local contractors that you’re familiar with and trust. Beware of the fly-by-night operators who go door-to-door soliciting repair work.
Before hiring a contractor, DLI suggests the following:
n Ask the contractor how long and where they have been in business.
n Ask for references and check with former customers to see if they were satisfied with the work.
n Ask for a Minnesota business address other than a post office box.
n Ask for a local phone number where the contractor can be reached during normal business hours.
n Check the contractor’s litigation history on the state court system’s website at http://pa.courts.state.mn. us/default.aspx.
Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes:
n A detailed summary of the work to be done.
n A description of materials.
n The total contract price or how the price will be calculated.
n Specific timelines and provisions explaining what will happen if the contractor fails to meet contractual deadlines.
Regulations are in place to protect homeowners entering into contracts with roofers. With certain restrictions, homeowners are allowed to cancel a roofing contract if their insurance company denies the claim.
When a bad storm strikes, don’t let it become a double whammy by draining your finances. Do your homework and work with licensed contractors that stand behind their work.
FORUM NEWS SERVICE