The March /April 2010 edition of the BBB Beacon, The Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio's newsletter, had an article entitled Things to Consider Before You Hire a Contractor. It is very well written and offers great advice, so I am going to paraphrase it for you.
1) Before hiring a contractor, make sure you obtain written estimates based upon the same building specs, materials and time frame.
2) Do not automatically choose the lowest bid; identify the reasons why one bid may be lower than another. Professionalism and quality workmanship should weigh heavily in your decision.
3) Insist on a written contract making sure all the promises and agreements are in writing. The contract should include a written description of the work to be done, starting and completion dates, the costs, payment schedule, any warranties or guarantees and clean-up after the job. The contract should note specific products, style numbers and colors when possible. If the contract was signed in your home with the contractor present, you have three days to change your mind and cancel the contract.
4) Be skeptical of those companies who solicit business door to door offering you a low price because they have left over supplies or try to pressure you to make a decision on the spot.
5) Make sure the contractor is licensed to complete the type of work they are selling and make sure you have the necessary permits to comply with your area regulations. Permits, licensing and registration requirements vary from city to city and county to county. Contact your local building registration office or city licensing board for the necessary requirements before hiring a contractor.
I recommend you visit the Better Business Bureau website to check out your chosen contractor before you sign a contract. Visit www.bbb.org and enter your zip code to find the BBB nearest you. We are accredited through the Central Ohio office. Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC has an A+ rating with the BBB, meaning we are complaint free with them. Another great site to visit is their blog at http://www.bbb.org/us/article/home-contractors-tip-offs-to-potential-rip-offs-536.
Do you have any horror stories of a contractor that you wish you hadn't hired? Share your story to warn others what to avoid. I'd love to hear from you. Happy contractor shopping!