Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 5, 2018

How to find an honest contractor

With severe winter weather around the corner, home owners might find it necessary to call in professionals to help repair damage to their homes. Although there are dishonest people who might try to profit from your misfortune, a fly-by-night contractor is one problem you can prevent if you follow a few simple steps.

In fact, it makes sense to follow these guidelines when you are evaluating any potential contractor, whether it’s for repairs or for a planned renovation to your home.

Price and payment

Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should never be told that you need to sign something in order to avoid a price increase.

Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is common, but you should not be asked to pay the full cost before work begins.

Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay a salesperson with cash, as opposed to paying the company directly with a check, money order or credit card.


Confirm that the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for his business.

Check the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) to ensure the business doesn’t have any unresolved complaints.

Ask the contractor for references for past work and be sure actually speak to each reference.

Check out the business or contractor on consumer review sites such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and Houzz. Remember: It’s important to weigh the good with the bad when reading online reviews.

Contract and completion

Be cautious of anyone who tells you that a contract won’t be necessary. Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor.

Make sure the final payment isn’t due until the job is finished and only when you’re fully satisfied with the work. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, and ensure you have paperwork to prove it’s been completed before you make the final payment.

Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a reliable contractor with an established business in our community, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga online at www.hbagc.net.