Editorial: Residents, do your homework when hiring a contractorHastings residents fixing their homes and lawns after last week’s storm have another assignment before hiring someone to fix things: do your homework.
Hastings residents fixing their homes and lawns after last week’s storm have another assignment before hiring someone to fix things: do your homework.
That is state officials’ advice in hiring contractors to work on homes.
“At minimum, they should be licensed with us” said Charlie Durenberger of the state Department of Labor and Industry.
But he also recommended people check into contractors on the department’s Web site (http://tinyurl.com/licensesearch) or call 800-342-5354 to confirm not only that the contractor has a license but if the firm has any disciplinary history.
Calling his agency also will help track down any court actions against a contractor.
A contracting license is needed to work on home repair and that license number is needed to check on a contractor.
Durenberger said he would suggest talking to relatives and neighbors about contractors, checking with the Better Business Bureau (although a good rating does not guarantee a good contractor) and paying to join Angie’s List, an on-line site where citizens review everything from contractors to mechanics.
“They shouldn’t have to feel pressured or hurried into this,” said James Honerman of the Department of Labor and Industry. “They should take the time to do their homework.”
Durenberger said that disaster victims must be careful what they sign.
Durenberger said he has seen incidents where a contractor said he needed a signature “just to show my boss that I was here,” but most documents are binding contracts.
Despite his warnings, Durenberger said, most contractors are legitimate and trustworthy. That said, homeowners should be leery of a contractor demanding upfront money.
Lastly, we encourage all of our readers to shop locally for tree removal, siding repair and roof repair and any other services needed. By choosing a local contractor, you are helping support our local economy.