Finding a contractor?

I'm about to embark on remodeling a basement family room and while I can accomplish almost everything involved I'd like to contract some of it out. What's the best place to find local people? I've asked around and can't seem to find anything word of mouth.
I've seen stuff in the local papers / yellow pages but something with ratings or feedback would be helpful.
For the record I'm in south-east PA.
-trevor
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I would suggest that you get several names, then contact the Better Business Bureau. If any have had complaints, resolved or not, scratch them off the list. If they aren't a member, slash them off the list. You will be amazed at how few you have left. Pat
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"Patscga" wrote in message

Business
amazed at

This is some of the worst advice I've seen on this NG.
To be a member of the BBB one pays yearly & dearly to belong, guess who pays for that membership in the long run? Some of the biggest crooks flaunt that BBB shield in their advertising. Only the naive would choose a contractor with your proposed method.
Referral is best method, if the OP can't get a referral from friends etc, one can contact the city in which they live and get names through the city of contractors that haven't had any _valid_ complaints against them. Mind you the city does not endorse any contractors, it's up to the consumer to screen all companies the city has supplied.
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the
pays
that
So you'd take the opinions of a politically motivated group of city workers, but not the BBB? Sounds naive to me. I hired a contractor a few years back, and he had referals and the whole nine yards. He was the worst.
BV.
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contractor
etc,
city
Mind
to
workers,
back,
Ummmmmm, try reading what I wrote with the glasses on. Any city building dept. _must_ give you the names of companies or individuals in good standing that have _no_ valid complaints. It's called the _law_ vs. the pay to play game like the BBB.
FYI, the BBB settled a lawsuit they had against them about 6 years ago. On their automated response for phone numbers, they used to say something like this for those not a member " the number xxx-xxx has not responded to a questionnaire mailed by the BBB, we have no information on this company". For those familiar with the lawsuit, the BBB bashed their own teeth out by trying to extort money from the none members. They have no bite because they now wear dentures. A big joke except to the naive. Call the BBB auto response for a phone number now, they have changed their tune. They will be obsolete soon, and only the naive will still believe they were a God send.
Sorry to hear you chose a bad contractor, the choice was yours and you made a bad choice. When faced with a situation you know nothing about, like hiring a contractor. It's best to get someone involved that knows how to find a reputable contractor.
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Business
amazed at

LOL...
RIIIGHT..
Why should a contractor PAY to have the BBB list them? Screw that. I wont join, and I have more business than most that are on the list....know why? I can afford to do more since there are no extra dues of over $1000 a year going out the door into thin air to an enity that exists for no reason other than to take money....period. They have NO power. None. All anyone that has a complaint against them has to do is send a letter back that says, Fuck you, and the matters resolved.
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CBHvac wrote:

Hi, BBB does not have any legal teeth. Tony
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Business
amazed at

I'd also add, find it they operate under several names and or licenses. We have a friend or two that has had some awful work done, and it seems the contractors always had several companies.
BV.
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 15:20:36 -0500, "Trevor Miller"

I'm a contractor in Canada, but I doubt things are much different in PA.
I'm approached at least three times a month by people who want to do some of the work and have me handle the tricky stuff.
I tell them "no". I have no way of knowing how well or how poorly they'll do their part ... and I do know that if the final product is less than they hoped for, no matter who did what or who decided what, I'll be blamed.
I think you'll find most contractors are like me ... I do it all or I don't touch it.
To do what you want to do, you're better hiring sub trades directly.
If you know any good tradesman -- electrician, plumber or whatever, ask him who does a good job on tiling .. or carpentry or whatever you need.
Another good source is local wholesalers of whatever specialty you need -- they can likely steer you to a good tradesman.
If you're nervous, ask for a reference .. the last similar job they did.
Others undoubted will advise you to check the BBB. No reason not to.
If a guy has a number of unresolved complaints, I'd back away. I wouldn't seek out a BBB member ... most smaller contractors I know (myself included) don't and won't support the BBB, we see it as irrelevant and a waste of our money.
Ken
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Thanks. Actually the division of work is more along the lines of trade. I have no issues upgrading plumbing or electrical stuff but hate framing and drywall. :)
-trevor
wrote:

out.
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as the old saying goes
you will get 3 prices (not 3 bids) (from the same contractor)
1 price if "they" do the work. a higher price if you want to watch "them" do the work. or the highest price if "you" want to help.
always remember lowest bidder = inexperience
the BBB is useless for finding quality contractors!
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California has a state agency called the Contractors' License Board. In order to do certain work, you must have a state license. Does PA have anything like that? Not that it is a guarantee that the contractor will do a good job, but the state also requires a completion (I think) bond. You can weed out the guys who former customers have been pissed off enough at to pursue a complaint with the state, plus the guys who don't have enough cash to buy the completion bond. The state also requires licensed contractors to have workers' comp insurance, and prove that with a cert from the insurance company. I hired painters two years ago, and thought I was hiring a one-man band. I asked about workers' comp, and he said it was just him so he didn't need it. But then he showed up with two "helpers", day labor I assume, so I sent him home and called the next guy on my list. He probably would have done a fine job, but the combination of him lying to me plus the risk of one of his knuckleheads falling off a ladder on my nickel just wasn't worth it.
And just remember, if the price is too good to be true, there is probably a reason for it.
Luck, Dave
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