How to Find a Reputable, Licensed Contractor
LESLIE: John in Massachusetts is on the line and needs some help finding a good, licensed contractor. Good question, John. How can we help?
JOHN: I own a home in New Bedford and the original part of the house was – it used to be in – back in 1940, it was a one-room candy store and they put additions onto it. And the one-room part of the house that was original – from 1925, when they built it – it was – the sills are rotted. Not because of termites, because I just had it checked out; there’s no active termite damage at all. It’s because water was getting in on the bad side of the house, on the weather side.
And I found that out right after I bought the home but I never got around to fixing the sills. I temporarily – repaired it temporarily until I can get a contractor that’s licensed. Because in the past, I worked with – I’ve gotten contractors that said they were licensed and they’re not; they just lie. They get it on their card and they’re not even licensed.
TOM: Well, I think you can confirm all that with the local licensing authorities but …
JOHN: Yeah, yeah. I know that now but yeah, it was a really hard way to go with a few of the contractors I’ve dealt with in the past, you know? They take your down payment, then they wouldn’t show up for weeks and weeks and weeks and I have to call them and …
TOM: So, things are a little bit easier today because of the advent of the internet, frankly.
TOM: The fact is that there’s a lot of places where you can research and see contractors and check out their reviews and find one that’s good. One of the websites that was one of the first ones is Angie’s List.
JOHN: Yep, I called them.
TOM: They’ve done well with that site. They’ve expanded to other areas, including medical. But as far as contractors are concerned, that was one of their first groups that they had on the site. And there are lots and lots of reviews from people like yourself that have had positive and not-so-positive experiences with contractors.
So, I mean finding one that way to kind of get started, I think, is a good idea. At least you can come up with a list of folks that have had some bit of experience. And then from there, as you bring them into your house – look, if it’s something like sill repair, there’s not a lot of material expenditure with that. So they shouldn’t be looking for a big down payment; you should be – maybe a progress payment along the way. But let’s face it, there’s not a lot of lumber expense when you’re just replacing sills.
JOHN: It wasn’t so much in the past of getting ripped off, it was – I had to chase them because they take the money from my job and they would go and do one day here, then they’d go to another job.
JOHN: And then – you know what I mean?
TOM: Well, we want to make sure that the money that they get from your job is based on them finishing your job. Alright? So I hope that helps you out. I would start with Angie’s List and go from there.
John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.