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hiring a contractor

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

The recent demolition project gone wrong in Philadelphia, makes you wonder what went wrong?  Are there not procedures to ensure a building does not collapse the wrong way and take the lives of 6 people, while injuring another 13?  While there are investigations going on to figure out exactly what happened, a news article noted the contractor hired to demolish the building at 2136-38 Market St. in Philadelphia has a criminal record.  ABC reported that the excavator operator was intoxicated, and had a criminal background.  So what could have been done to prevent such a tragedy from happening?  The blame was passed from contractor to department of licenses and inspections to OSHA.  As a property owner all you can do is what you know, so there is a need to educate yourself on how to hire a qualified, insured contractor. Once you’ve planned your project, here are some tips to help in hiring a contractor.


1.  Research. 

  1. Pick a few contractors to call for an interview.  Once you have considered who you might choose, research their company.
  2. Find out if your state requires contractors to register for a permit to work, fortunately most do.  Make sure certifications are up to date.  See the Contract License Board List.
  3. Check with city hall or the county building department to find out if the Contractor is insured and bonded.  You can go to your city website to find that information.
  4. What is the contractor’s reputation like?  The BBB (Better Business Bureau) keeps record of complaints, and grade companies.  Also check Yelp, Google, and Angie’s List.
  5. Ask for References and contact them.  If a Company’s work is good, they will be able to provide you with references.
  6. Request a disclosure statement from the contractor, they should be able to get this from the city website.


2.  Check for signs of a scam.

  1. Are you able to reach the credit reference provided and can they verify the company?
  2. Do they use aggressive sale tactics, telling you to sign up for Today’s only special?
  3. Does the company require cash or a large deposit up front to a person’s name not a company name?
  4. Did they write a contract or bid with you for your documents?
  5. The contractor is required to take out a building permit, but did they ask you to do it instead?
  6. When scheduling, it should be during regular business hours, not insistent on just the weekends and after hours.
  7. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Trust your instinct.