At least once a week if not more often we receive a phone call to repair a ceiling that was installed incorrectly or badly.
At glance merely installing ceiling tiles for example can look simple enough.
However, after hiring an inexperienced contractor you will soon find out it was more complicated than you thought.
Additionally, we get the occasional call from someone who hired someone to install a ceiling and they abandoned the job or ripped them off in some way.
Your home is often your largest investment.
It is very important to be cautious who you entrust it to.
One factor that should never lead your decision over who you hire is cost alone.
We understand budget is a factor but never let it solely determine who you hire – we find this is when most people find trouble.
We want to share with you a few check off points.
If you will follow this outline when hiring a contractor to do any sort of job to your home you will greatly decrease your chances of it going badly.
Always ask for the last 3 jobs they did, especially if they want a deposit up front.
Call those customers and see how they did on their job. Many times people ask for the references but they don’t actually call them.
Just so you know, contractors expect people to ask for this but not to follow through.
As a result, they may give you false references. Bottom line – follow through, check the references.
Everything in Writing
A contract should clearly delineate all work to be performed, all associated costs, including materials and the cost. Never sign a blank contract or one with blank spaces.
Any guarantees made by the contractor should be written into the contract. The guarantee should clearly state what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee, and how long the guarantee is valid.
Never Use Cash for Payment
Avoid on-the-spot cash payments. The safest route is to write a check to the contracting company.
When Contracts Ask for Upfront Payments
Every contractor has different businesses practices.
Birmingham Ceilings & Walls for example does not ask for an upfront payment. The reason is we are well-capitalized, we have never done that and it’s just not a part of our practices. Our customers pay us once the job is finished and meets their satisfaction.
That is not to say you should eliminate a contractor who asks for an upfront payment as part of their own individual practices.
A reasonable down payment of 50% of the total cost of the project, with the remainder to be paid upon initial delivery of materials is the normal practice of many contractors.
Just make sure once again to call their references before you make an upfront payment to them.
Additionally, don’t pay in cash. Without a paper trail you have no proof of your transactions if it goes badly.
Proof of Insurance and License
This is a big one, you know you have a professional when they are properly insured. If you hire someone without proper documentation just because they have a toolbox and a truck, you are taking a great risk.
Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. If the contractor is not insured, the homeowner may be liable for accidents that occur on the property.
Not to mention if the work doesn’t go well or damage occurs you could be left holding the bag.
Do not sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
A reputable contractor will not threaten you or pressure you to sign if the job is not finished properly.
This is a another big one! If the price you were just quoted on your kitchen remodel sounds too good to be true, trust us when we say – it is!
It also goes without saying trust your gut instinct, instead of listening to your wallet dictate.
Internet Presence is a MUST
This for us is one of the largest check off points. This one factor right here when followed can save you from a construction project going bad or from being ripped off.
Never EVER hire anyone that does not have a social imprint or online presence.
The reason why is there is no consequence to receiving a bad online review.
You always want to hire a company that gets good reviews for two reasons.
1. Because you know they do a great job and care about their reputation.
2. Because you know they have a reputation to protect, it’s important to them which means that is one more layer of responsibility in the job they will do for you.
So, before you choose a contractor simply go to Google and type in their name or their business name.
Look for any feedback whatsoever. Also go to Facebook and do the same thing.
If you find any bad feedback consider this when making your decision. If you go forward anyway and it goes badly – regret is a terrible and expensive pill to swallow.
Many times I hear from people they have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to hiring contractors.
However, after I hear their story it is very apparent they could have avoided their bad experience if they had only been more careful and considered other factors outside of price alone.
Use these rules next time you hire someone to do work in your home, we assure you it will lessen your chances of having a bad experience.
If You Ever Need a Ceiling Installed or Repaired –
We specialize in acoustical (drop) ceilings for residential and commercial clients.
In addition we do custom and sheetrock ceiling installations. We also do wall repair, metal drywall stud framing and insulation.
Call us today (205) 212-4721.
Kirt Bridges / Owner
Birmingham Ceilings & Walls