If you need to find a contractor in NYC or elsewhere, you need to do your homework. Sadly, there are far too many stories of homeowners and businessmen who did not check out their contractor to make sure that the company was legitimate. Nearly everybody has a story of hearing about someone who hired a contractor who was not they claimed to be. In some cases, the contractor did not do the work. In other cases, they did not pay the subcontractors, leaving the homeowner or business owner on the hook for the expenses. Some contractors simply did a sloppy job.
Of course, most contractors in New York actually do good work, so you need to make sure that you get one of those good ones and not some fly-by-night operation. So how can you verify a contractor to make sure that they are legitimate? Here are some tips:
Get started by checking out their licensing information
In New York, contractors must be licensed in the state, and the city also keeps licensing information as well, and has specific requirements. Start here by checking out the contractor’s DCA (Department of Consumer Affairs) license by clicking here. If your contractor is located outside New York City, and you are as well, but in New York State, you can check with the state’s Office of Consumer Protection for licensing information. You can also find general contractor information in New York City here, as well as licensing information for plumbers, electricians, and the like.
Angie’s List says that is very important to make sure a contractor is licensed and registered, saying that: “Hiring a contractor that is licensed or registered properly not only ensures that a company is operating legally, but some government license programs also offer consumer recourse through the form of complaint submittal, arbitration programs or restitution funds.” So doing so will give you somewhere to return if the contractor does not do what they promised.
In addition, it is not just good sense to get this licensing information, it is the law: New York City requires that any home improvement work or repairs that are over $200 in value must be done by a licensed contractor.
Do not pay too much upfront
The City of New York says that you should not pay over 25% for the contracting work upfront, and you should never pay in cash. Those are common-sense recommendations – legitimate contractors will have no problem with you sticking to you doing so.
Get estimates, with a written contract
New York recommends that the contractor in NYC present you with an estimate that follows this type of form. In addition, contractors are required to give each customer the following form: “Consumer Bill of Rights on Contracting for Home Improvements.” In addition, when you get estimates – you should get at least three — be suspicious of estimates that are too high or too low.
Good contractors will put up with such scrutiny
Don’t worry that you will be scaring away a good contractor by asking questions and checking them out. Legitimate contractors will have nothing to worry about. To learn more about how to hire a contractor in NYC, click here.
About the Author
Lisa Swan writes for a variety of home improvement sites. She lives in New York City.