How do I find out if they do good work? I found him by looking
handymen in the local shopper. The guy I have been talking to is very
knowledgeable, but I know he is not the one that is going to do the
I am having the front of my house torn off. That is a little
exaggeration, but I am replacing the front step and the front double
door. The step is poured concrete that was not properly done the
first time. Erosion has caused it to crack and sink towards the door
causing the stoop to rot.
BBB? (Better Business Bureau)
See if he's got a listing with your local BBB.
See if he'll give you some REAL contact info - something more than a
cell-phone number or e-mail address. Business or home address and
land-line phone number for a start.
Does he do paper contracts? Has he given you a quote on paper?
Yes, the BBB records negative information. Which is what prospective
customers really want to know about, or is more important than the
degree to which a job was satisfactorily performed (which is highly
If a contractor even has a BBB membership in the first place, that is
probably better (all else being equal) than someone who does not.
And a BBB complaint can be filed against any commercial entity, even if
that entity is not a member of the BBB.
Ask him for references and check them out. I'd ask what specifically he did
and if it seems appropriate, ask to see the work. If he has a business
name, check him out with the BBB. They aren't a guarantee, even if he looks
OK, but if there are lots of complaints, that's a red flag.
The work you need done isn't rocket science, but it's also prime for
problems, eg leaks, cracking, settling, if it's not done correctly. Ask him
for proof of insurance. Make sure the contract spells out exactly what he's
going to do and don't give him any more money upfront or along the way than
reasonable and necessary. You don't want him to be ahead of you when it
comes to $$. That's when they find it more atttractive to start another job
instead of finishing yours.
Also consider asking about and taking out any permits. For example,
probably better to pay $150 for a permit and have the building inspector
check that footings are properly poured that to let him do it with no checks
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