HIRING A CONTRACTOR
Contractor Hiring Tips This week again, we received calls from residents within our community that hired contractors turning out to be unlicensed. In one case, the painting contractor quoted a verbal price for the work and was told to proceed and paid for the original work quoted for $1,800. The contractor was then asked to do extra work, presented a price and was told to proceed. After the job was completed, the bill was presented and the additional work quoted of $500 had escalated to $1,200. The owner felt a red flag come up and called YCCA to ask if it is normal for change orders and additional work to be inflated so much.
It was discovered that this contractor wasn't LICENSED or BONDED and more than likely UNINSURED. It was as if the “contractor” felt he had developed trust and attempted to pad his pockets. We guided the owner and made suggestions on what do to; they called back grateful of the outcome and felt they survived a major monetary loss of $1,200. In this case, the unlicensed contractor did perform the work requested for the original $1,800 and was paid in full for that amount. Only time will tell if the paint stays on the exterior of the home and does not wash off with the next major rain or grow fainter in color and disappear and fade out with the glow from the moonlight night. As well, there was no paint left with the homeowner indicating the brand and type of paint. For all this homeowner knows, the paint could have been diluted with water with a little color added. This owner is without protection from the Registrar of Contractors.
Another example of a huge loss of money was due to an unlicensed contractor being hired for a roof replacement. Unbeknown to the owner, the “contractor” did severe damage to the roof which started to leak during our rains. The owner tried calling the contractor after major leaks started appearing in the home, no answer! no answer! no answer! This unlicensed contractor took the money ($17,500) and ran ran ran. After major roof repairs, drywall repairs, paint repairs, the owner paid an additional $9,500 for repair of the damages.
We cannot stress the importance of using licensed contractors. Call YCCA for your questions, let us help and guide you through your construction process and eliminate any surprises that can potentially be a monetary loss to you.
Just another reminder for prevention: Make sure your contractor is licensed. Ask for references. Obtain a minimum of three detailed bids. Obtain a written contract. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract prior to signing. Be cautious of advancing monies for work not yet completed. And it is critical that you obtain a construction change order, a very important form and part of the construction agreement, to prevent adversarial relationships. It is extremely important when you enter into a bid with a contractor; the bid spells out all services and materials to be provided. If problems arise during the process or if the client changes their mind and wants to upgrade, or remove an item, a change order must be executed. The change order is your protection for the new plan, new products, new services, and/or deducts of the same. The change order becomes a valid contract for which the contractor and owner must agree to and abide by. A change order is protection for both parties and prevents any misunderstandings as a later date. Failure to write up change orders and sign change orders can be costly for all involved.