Constructing a new home or a commercial building is a huge undertaking. Not only will you be spending a lot of money up front, but you want to ensure the building is constructed properly so it won’t end up costing you more later on. Hiring the right contractor for the job is extremely important–unfortunately, some contractors have a habit of not doing what they’re supposed to do–which makes checking them out ahead of time a good idea. Following are a few tips on doing a background check on a contractor.
Compile a Short List
The first step in finding a contractor is to compile a short list of candidates. You can do this by asking your friends and relatives who’ve had construction work done whether or not they would recommend their contractor. You can also look at buildings recently constructed, or still under construction, and find out who the contractor is, and talk to the property owner to see if they’re satisfied with them. If the same names keep popping up, you can be fairly certain they’re reliable contractors. After you’ve conducted this research, you can start contacting the people on your short list.
Contact the contractors on your short list and go over your plans with them. Feel the contractor out to see if they seem interested in the job. You may be able to weed out one or two based on whether or not the contractor is interested in the job and/or thinks they can complete it within the time period you envision. Ask the remaining contractors for references. Place a telephone call to the referenced person, or go and talk to them face to face, and find out if they were satisfied with the contractor’s work, and whether or not they’d recommend them. Keep in mind that the contractor will more than likely pick a reference that will give them a good recommendation, but you should still be able to get a feel for whether or not the contractor will be reliable.
A contractor that wants to stay in business for any length of time will make every effort to do good work. If they do, they will more than likely have a good reputation within the industry as well as with their customers. You can conduct your own background check to ensure that their reputation is deserved. Go online and use your favorite search engine to try and find out a little more about the contractor. Type their name into the search engine and click on any links that come up. Read the stories carefully and try to determine whether or not they reflect the reputation you’ve heard about. If the contractor has their own website, browse through it and find out what type of services they offer. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints against the contractor, and if so, how the complaint was resolved. The Builder’s Association in your area will be able to tell you whether or not the contractor is properly licensed. Ask the contractor if they have adequate insurance coverage, including liability and property insurance. They should also carry workman’s compensation. Have a talk with the contractor and find out how long he thinks the job should take. After that, you should contact their past customers and find out whether or not the contractor completed their job in the allotted time.
Have a Professional Background Check Done
A background check can be as simple or complex as you need it to be. In the end, you are the one who must be satisfied, and will make the final decision whether or not to hire the contractor. If you’ve done all you can on your own and still have a few reservations about the contractor, you can opt for a professional background check. A professional investigator will know how to dig deeper than you can on your own. He will have contacts and knowledge of how to find out if there are any problems associated with the contractor. Keep in mind that this will cost quite a bit of money, but it’s your peace of mind that is at stake. Only you can decide on the extent or necessity of a background check.
Guest post from Jean Clark. Jean writes about background checking for BackgroundCheck.org.