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...12 CRUCIAL THINGS TO KNOW...

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Find Local Pest Control Services. Get Up to 4 Quotes Now. It's Quick, Free, and Easy!

Looking to professionally get rid of pests once and for all--who can blame you? Well, this is the place where you can become an informed consumer when attempting to hire an exterminating contractor to make your home improvement project a reality!

Here are 12 things to know in seeking and hiring a contractor:

Seeking a Contractor

  1. You should limit your search to contractors who are 1) licensed, 2) bonded, and 3) insured; never deal with a contractor who lacks any one of these three criteria for the sake of your welfare and safety.

  2. You should strive to get at least three (3) different FREE written estimates (also known as bids) from three different local contractors.  (Obtaining estimates from contractors located out of your city may likely result in invariable and otherwise invalid estimate prices in the sense that such out-of-area prices will not actually reflect the "going rate" of labor and materials in your area; such out-of-area estimates will, thus, impair your ability to gauge what would be a reasonable price for the project you wish to have a contractor professionally perform.)  Always stick with local contractor written estimates, and never get tricked into paying for a written estimate--it should always be given to you for free and without obligation on your part. 

  3. You should attempt to seek customer references from the contractor who provides you a free written estimate; while some may be hesitant to provide you with customer references because of privacy concerns of previous customers or because they actually have no previous customer to speak highly of them, other contractors who are well established--those whom you are ideally seeking--likely will have received the permission of previous customers to use them as references, and will have them readily available upon your request.  So, make sure to ask for references, and check them out by seeking to speak with these previous customers and observe the work the contractor did for them, if you can; a contractor who shies away from offering references may be an indication that the contractor is unfit to professionally handle your project.

  4. You should also attempt to seek supplier references from the contractor who provides you a free written estimate, as they will give you additional insight into the contractor's work ethic and any history of payment delinquencies.

  5. It is always wise to check with your local registrar of contractors or better business bureau to see whether the contractor you are seeking to engage for professional services is in good standing.

  6. Once you obtain enough written estimates, evaluate such written estimates:  Compare all written estimates in an attempt to choose the best one.  Of particular consideration you should give to the aspects of your prospective contractor and his/her written estimate are these criteria:  scope of work; offered warranty, for labor and/or materials; customer and supplier references; projected time frame to complete the project; and, of course, the price.  Remember: Picking the lowest-priced written estimate may not always be the best choice.  Steer clear of estimates that sound too good to be true.

Hiring a Contractor

  1. At this stage, you have already selected your contractor from the others who have submitted written estimates to you for your evaluation.  Be sure, at this point, if you have not already done so, that you obtain verification as to the existence of a proper license, bond policy and insurance policy from your selected contractor.  To fulfill this verification, your selected contractor, upon your request, can easily furnish you with a copy of his government-issued license certificate, bond policy and insurance policy.

  2. Before allowing the contractor to perform any work, be sure to review and, if found acceptable, sign a written contract with the contractor; you may want to seek the service of a lawyer to go over any contracts.  The written contract should basically repeat the terms you found favorable in the written estimate you originally received.  Included in the written contract should be the following: A description of the scope of work to be professionally performed by the contractor for a specified total price; the materials to be used, including whether the materials are to be paid for separately by you or are already included as part of the written contract price; the labor and/or material warranty offered by the contractor, including the time period of the warranty, with beginning and ending dates; the obtainment of permits, if applicable for your project, from your local government development department, including whether the permit fee(s) is/are to be paid for separately by you or are already a part of the written contract price; the terms of how and when any payments of the written contract price will be paid to the contractor (e.g., that the contractor will be paid half of the written contract price after half of the work is completed and approved by a building inspector); the process of incorporating changes to the project, including the validation of any change order requiring an additional written agreement by both you and the contractor; the inclusion of a statement that the contractor will provide you with a lien release upon the tender of final payment to the contractor for the completed work; and, as may be applicable, the written delegation of who will be responsible and liable for the proper removal of any work/project waste, a burden of which usually the contractor undertakes.  These are some of the main facets of any consumer-contractor relationship that should be covered in writing as part of a contract with a contractor.

  3. Be sure that if your project requires incremental/stage and/or final inspections by your local building inspector that such inspections are timely scheduled.

  4. Once you sign a contract with your selected contractor, during the course of the contractor's performance of the work, be sure to frequently check on the progress of the contractor's work; you'll want to stop and correct any problems that may come up before it becomes more costly down the road to correct.

  5. Ensure that any and all governmental building inspections pass; work with both the contractor and the building inspector your local government assigns to the stage(s) of your project to make sure each inspection passes without complications.

  6. Once the project is complete and has passed any applicable inspections, at the time of tendering final payment to your contractor to fulfill your obligation of paying the written contract price (or any written addendum price that covers change orders), be sure that your contractor provides you with a copy of an applicable lien release form signed by the contractor (and make sure that such a lien release form is recorded/filed with your local recorder's / property records office in the event a lien was previously recorded/filed by the contractor as part of the contractor's standard business practice); you should also obtain, as may be applicable, a signed copy of a material supplier lien release form.

Find Local Pest Control Services. Get Up to 4 Quotes Now. It's Quick, Free, and Easy!

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