City Offers Helpful Tips for Hiring Contractors after August 18th Storm
By Jim Wiederholt, Maryville Building Inspector
With the recent storm rolling through the Maryville many homes are in need of repair. This also means a great deal of contractors will be in town to complete such repairs. Before choosing a contractor too quickly it is important to do your part to inform yourself and choose the contractor that which best suits your needs. One of the simplest ways to avoid becoming a victim is to hire a licensed contractor.
Although a licensed contractor doesn’t insure quality work, it does imply a level of professionalism and integrity. A contractor is required by law to be licensed to work within the city limits of Maryville. This license requires the contractor to show proof of liability insurance. A contractor with insurance means that the homeowner is protected for property damage caused by the contractor. The homeowner is also protected if the contractor injures or damages someone else’s property. Some people mistakenly believe that their homeowner’s insurance protects them. Many homeowners’ policies exclude work done without permits and by unlicensed contractors.
Unlicensed contractors can’t obtain permits and often don’t follow building codes. The homeowner can be responsible for repairs or even removal if the work doesn’t meet the building code. Unlicensed contractors don’t have to meet specific standards and are usually less experienced and maybe even unqualified to do the work. This results in poor quality work for the homeowner and possible safety hazards. Electrical, plumbing and HVAC work should only be done by persons licensed in that area and who have passed a test to prove competency.
Scams in the construction industry are nothing new. Con-artists often take advantage of the elderly and unsuspecting. The results are sloppy work and often a homeowner who has lost their hard earned money. Home repair fraud costs consumers billions of dollars every year.
A homeowner needs to protect themselves when hiring a contractor. Certain warning signs can help a homeowner spot an unqualified or dishonest contractor. Be cautious of any contractor who contacts you and offers a too good to be true offer. Some con-artists will try to scare the homeowner and often use high pressure tactics. An offer that is good “now or never” is probably never good. If the contractor asks for too much money up front or is not willing to sign a contract, you should be cautious. Finally, a contractor should provide you with information to verify that they are licensed and insured. You can contact the City of Maryville at 660-562-8012 to verify a contractor has a license.
A properly licensed and insured contractor will want to get the agreement in writing. A well-written contract protects the contractor as well as the homeowner. A contract should outline the entire agreement including starting and completion dates, a description of work to be done, payment schedule, detailed material list, warranty information and clean-up agreements. Be sure you understand the terms of the contract and have an attorney review the contract before it is signed.
Homeowners who do a little extra work before hiring a contractor can save themselves time, energy and money in the long run. The simple act of verifying that the contractor is licensed can help your project run more smoothly.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor