This is a continuation of a series to help you find a service provider (handyman, contractor, exterminator) and have an excellent experience having them work on your home.
This is article 4. You can go to our website blogs to find the previous articles about looking for red flags and starting your research.
Title: Ensuring Compliance and Peace of Mind: Key Considerations When Hiring a Contractor
Choosing the right contractor for your project is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration from both a quality and compliance perspective. To safeguard your interests and foster a peace of mind experience, it’s essential to prioritize certain key elements during the selection process. In this article, we will explore five critical factors to evaluate when hiring a contractor, ensuring both legal compliance and successful project completion.
- State Registration Number:
Verifying a contractor’s state registration number is a fundamental step in ensuring compliance. State registration is a legal requirement for contractors and serves as evidence that they meet the necessary criteria to operate within the state. This number can usually be obtained from the contractor’s website or by contacting the appropriate state licensing board. Hiring a registered contractor not only ensures compliance with state regulations but also provides a level of professionalism and accountability.
- Relevant City or Municipality Licenses:
In addition to state registration, it’s crucial to check for any relevant licenses at the city or municipality level. Certain projects may require specific permits or licenses depending on local regulations. Ensuring that your contractor possesses the necessary local licenses demonstrates their commitment to compliance and adherence to local building codes. This step helps prevent potential legal issues and ensures that your project meets all local requirements.
- Insurance Coverage:
Insurance is a critical aspect of protecting both you and the contractor during the course of a project. There are several types of insurance to consider:
- Commercial Auto Insurance: This will cover if something happens that includes the usage of your service providers vehicle. (backing into a garage door is a real classic example)
- Liability Insurance: Liability insurance safeguards against property damage or injuries that may occur during the project. It is essential to verify that the coverage amount is sufficient for the scale and nature of the work being performed.
- Workers Compensation Insurance: This insurance is crucial for covering the medical expenses and lost wages of workers in the event of on-site injuries. Ensuring that the contractor has adequate workers compensation insurance mitigates the risk of legal complications and financial liabilities. (I have personally heard a story of someone who lost a rental property they owned to a lawsuit of an uninsured handyman who hurt himself on their property by falling off a ladder and sued them.)
- HICPA Compliant Contract:
The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) outlines specific requirements for contracts in the home improvement industry. A HICPA compliant contract should include details such as a project description, start and completion dates, total cost, payment schedule, and warranty information among other things (future article). Reviewing and ensuring that the contract adheres to HICPA guidelines provides a transparent and legally sound framework for your project, protecting both parties involved as well as letting you know that the person you are engaging with has put work into doing things the right way.
In short if something happens along the way and their is no clear contract to reference or If something happens to your property and the only thing the service provider can do is say “sorry”, they are doing it wrong and not taking the responsibility of caring you and your property seriously.”
- finding a good service provider for your project:
- The priority Trifecta
- How to tap into word of mouth recommendation to find a service for your specific need.
- How to use the internet to find good candidates for your project.
- How to research for a service provider online and how to spot fake reviews. Number of reviews vs total review number. Number of reviews individual users have left.
- The old big box store search and how to leverage it.
- Classic things every contractor should have
- spotting potential red flags
- Receiving a contract. What is a HICPA compliant contract and how to know if your contractor gave you one.
- If and when a deposit is reasonable
- What questions does the service provider have for you.
- Disorganization, not following through when they say they will
- All brand new tools
- Raising the odds of having a great experience and your dream becoming a reality.
- Do you have a vision
- Do you have clear priorities
- Do you have a budget in mind or an idea of how much this should cost.
- Do you have a timeline in mind.
- Once you are already working together
- How a change in the work scope should be handled
- Is your property being protected.