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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
lowest bidder = inexperience
the BBB is useless for finding quality contractors!
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.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.