How to Check Out a Contractor
LESLIE: Now we’re going to go to Washington, D.C. where Yasmine’s got a question about her heating system. She wants to make some updates and some changes but doesn’t know where to begin.
Yasmine, what can we do for you?
YASMINE: Let me ask you guys a question. With my eight track, I’ve been looking a little bit at – actually, I’ve got six estimates so far.
TOM: Six estimates for a new heating system?
YASMINE: Yes, for a – for a new heating and air conditioning unit. And one of the ones that, right now, that I’m looking at, he has given me an estimate that is significantly below the others. It’s about $1,200 below what I’ve gotten so far.
YASMINE: And so my question to you guys is I’m planning on checking his references as well as his license and insurance.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, very smart.
YASMINE: And also checking with the Better Business Bureau. But in addition to that, is there something else I should be aware of when I’m selecting this particular independent contractor?
TOM: Well, is everyone bidding on the same equipment or is he suggesting something significantly different?
YASMINE: It is the same equipment.
TOM: Well, if it’s the same equipment and his references check out, I don’t see any reason not to use him.
LESLIE: And some of the questions to ask the folks when you call up for the references – ask, “Did he come in on time”; “Did he come in on budget?”; “Did he finish in the timeline that was promised?” Make sure that he’s delivering in a promised timeline; otherwise, you’re giving him free reign to just come and go and just never finish.
TOM: And you might want to also ask him about a warranty on the equipment as well so that you have that altogether.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. You all out there can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s right, folks, someone is always there to take your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.