SEATTLE — With warm temperatures in the forecast, homeowners may be ready to start home improvement projects. Some larger projects may require hiring a contractor to get the job done. The Better Business Bureau of Washington is sharing reminders for consumers to avoid falling for contractor scams.
Before reaching out to any contractor for an estimate, it's recommended you do a few things first.
"You should look to plan your project from start to finish," said Logan Hickle, communications manager for the BBB of Washington. "Try to find pictures of what you like, to show the contractor what you want."
In addition, you should figure out the budget for the entire project, research permits, and gather information about the contractors you're interested in.
Hickle said it's important to get multiple quotes and get everything in writing.
"You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different businesses," Hickle said. "Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements."
When hiring contractors, Hickle said you should verify license and insurance with those businesses.
Finally, get a receipt and arrange a payment schedule.
"Never pay in full upfront," Hickle said. "Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, not an individual, or that you use a credit card."
Consumers can check the BBB's website to find business profiles for contractors here in the community. You can check to see if they are accredited with the BBB and check to see how they handle complaints against their business.
"Just because there is a complaint against a business, that shouldn’t automatically disqualify them," Hickle said.
Instead, Hickle said you should look to see how they responded to that customer and how they handled the situation.
For more information about home remodeling, hiring a contractor, home inspectors, and more, click here.