Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 18, 2016

Finding the right contractor for your next project

Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Terry Greene

Weather you’re retiling the bathroom floor or building a whole new house, hiring a qualified and reliable contractor will make the difference between a positive experience and an expensive nightmare.

Skilled contractors are plentiful in the Chattanooga area, but knowing how to find the right one for your project can be daunting. Navigate the search with these simple steps:

Do your research

– Ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations or check the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s membership roster. In general, members of a professional trade association must comply with strict codes of quality and ethics. 

– Interview three contractors and make sure you feel comfortable with them. Your ability to communicate well throughout the project is as important as experience and skill.  

– Check with the Better Business Bureau for customer complaints and determine if there is a pattern of litigation against the contractor.   

Negotiate the details 

– Secure a detailed, signed contract before work ås:

• Exact work that will be done

• Start date and projected completion date

• Materials to be used and who is responsible for purchasing those materials

• Warranties on labor and materials 

– Also include in the contract the budget and payment schedule, which generally includes a down payment made before work begins, progress payments throughout the project, and a final payment.

– Any changes made along the way should be executed in writing with an addendum to the contract. Avoid oral agreements, no matter how small the change. 

Get your paperwork in order 

– Obtain copies of licenses for the contractor and all subcontractors. 

– Get proof of necessary permits. Be wary of a contractor who wants to do a job without a permit or wants you to get it. 

– Require lien releases so that, in the event the contractor doesn’t pay for labor or supplies, you will not be held liable. 

– Get copies of the contractor’s workers’ compensation and general liability policy certificates. Check your own homeowners’ policy to determine if it protects you for accidents or damage not covered under the contractor’s policy.

For a listing of member-contractors in the Chattanooga area, please visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga website at HBAGC.net or call 423.624.9992.