Hiring the Lowest Bidder? Think Again.
Are you considering home repairs or renovations? It’s tempting to choose the lowest estimate but that may not be the best value in the long run. Those low bidders may not be licensed, bonded or insured and that can lead to a risky situation.
Angie Hicks, creator of Angie’s List, has years of experience working with contractors. She suggests homeowners be certain that contractors carry two types of insurance: liability and workers’ compensation. As a homeowner, these will protect you in two ways. First, liability insurance will protect you in the event the contractor causes damage to your home. What if, say during an upstairs bathroom remodel, your uninsured contractor was doing work that caused the bathtub to crash to the floor? Your homeowner’s insurance likely won’t cover you unless you’ve purchased additional coverage for in-home employees.
What if the contractor had an employee who was injured on your property but the contractor didn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance? Your homeowner’s insurance policy might help cover the cost of the worker’s claim, after you meet your deductible, but that claim could result in an increase in your rates.
Bonding is often confused for insurance, but there is a notable difference. A bond is secured money that would be distributed to the homeowner in the event the contractor failed to perform as he or she should. For example, if a plumbing contractor failed to perform a pipe repair adequately and caused a leak that went undetected and caused damage to the home, or if a company employee stole personal items from your home, the bond would cover that loss. Ask for proof of the bond and be sure you understand exactly what it covers.
The Contractors State License Board offers 10 tips to make sure your contractor measures up. They suggest homeowners get at least three bids and check references and recent projects. Check the contractor license number at www.cslb.gov or call (800) 321-2752. Confirm that the contractor carries workers’ comp and liability insurance. Make sure all project expectations are in writing and only sign the contract if you completely understand the terms. Try searching your contractor’s name online for additional reviews. Yelp can be useful but consider the source. Chamber board director Craig Fisher of Craig’s Electric and board president Kaipo Chock of JR Hardware Sash & Door recommend you hire local contractors. Not only is it more convenient to contact them in case of problems, most Crescenta Valley contractors are known to be reputable. As Chock said, “They have to be in such a small town.”
The Crescenta Valley Chamber lists a number of top-quality building contractors. Check out our website directory for companies that specialize in the work you need for your home or office remodel.