Seven steps for hiring trustworthy contractors

The official start of spring is March 20th, but already, many consumers are planning home improvement projects as part of their spring cleaning. Some tasks may be simple, but others may require a professional touch. For those more complicated jobs, finding a trustworthy contractor is a must and BBB wants to help you avoid those contractors who may fall short of your expectations.

Follow these seven tips to select a contractor you can trust:

1. Use to find trustworthy businesses. Start your search with BBB Member Pages to find BBB accredited contractors in your area. If you are referred to a business through friends, family or an advertisement, verify the business is in good standing at before contacting them.

2. Compare costs. Get at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. BBB’s Request-a-Quote service is free to use and will allow BBB Accredited Businesses to send you quotes via email. Understand variations in price may be associated with higher quality of materials.

3. Call for references. Ask all contractors to provide local references and find out if those customers were satisfied with the work performed. If possible, visit a completed project to inspect the quality of the workmanship.

4. Check licensing. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requires a license for plumbers, HVAC technicians and electricians, however, other contractors may require registration or licensing to do work in specific counties or cities.

5. Beware of high upfront fees. Contractors may require a down payment before work begins, but it should not be a significant portion of the total cost. Instead, make payments that align with the progress of the work completed. Make sure you are satisfied with the work before making a final payment.

6. Review your contract thoroughly. Make sure it includes all the materials needed to complete the job, an itemized list of all costs involved, any subcontracted labor and a warranty for all work performed.

7. Verify insurance coverage. Find out if the company is insured against claims covering worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Verify coverage directly with the business’ insurance company if possible.