10 Tips to Select a Good Contractor

10 Tips to Select a Good Contractor

You’ve heard this talked about a million times…So what makes this information different? The truth…nothing but the truth.

Like most “safety nets” designed for consumers to click on, type in and gather information, most will never do it. It’s just easier if they make a decision based off someone else’s  contractor recommendation. People go off referrals, neighbors, family, logos, ads and lastly the most trusted site in the world!  That “if you find it here, it’s probably true”…the internet…I’m just kidding please NEVER assume anything you read there is factual!

“OK, I do want to say that there are some great legitimate companies and contractors out there. I applaud you. In fact I wish you worked with my people as well and then we would be a bigger-amazing company. There, I said it!”

1. Do not use the cheapest bid! Look at the last 20 completed jobs online from this company. They must have permits taken out AND it “must say” Final inspection done! It will not, and this is where you need to start paying attention.

These days, selecting a good contractor needs to be as careful as opening up Spam-email. Or clicking a friends email with “hyperlinks” attached to it! You may have even seen this contractor doing work all over your city! Maybe even some of your friends have recommended this contractor to you because they have used them. They may look completely legitimate from the outside, the person may look honest, the company could have been around for 20 years (or more.) They may even do good work!

2. An estimate should detail the work and materials used! Bullet pointed and not “broad-brushed.” It needs to be clear what you are getting done and with what materials. On a business card…Throw them in the trash!

I’m here to tell you that none of their credentials, BBB, Angie’s or any other accreditation on their website or in print (yep even the good ole’ phone book) means zero, nadda, zippo, nothing! These companies cannot guaranty a company is going to to a great job for you!

Sadly, most all of these companies that allow a contractor to use their logo or their name or the acronym to their name as some sort of  “credential-type-great-company-they-are-rock-solid-you-can-trust-them” are in it specifically for the money! And sad to say, it worked and probably on you already if you’re one of millions that have unreal contractor stories about being taken advantage of.

3. Washington State requires the contract “you are signing” to have
Lien Release information for you to read and sign! “Chances are about 99% that the contractor you are signing up with does not comply with this mandatory requirement.” Hummm- Hello-Red flag! Does any institution follow this and slap penalties? Nooooo..Why not? Because they don’t have time…LOL….why am I laughing? Cause I’m just sick of this whole screwed up system that no body can control.

It’s just all about money. Yep…money, money,  money! It’s all about the money. Not, how good you are! YOU even know that! Right now, stop for a second. Sit back and repeat the saying I just said and you will shake your head and know it’s true. Lets try it; “It’s all about money.” So, these days, (in Washington State) if you have a little money and you want to be a contractor you can;  get a license, get a bond, get cheap insurance and you are now a “General Contractor.” Now with a little additional money you can get listed on the net, get with the BBB, get on Angie’s list, get on Yahoo, Google, Bing, Aol, you can have the presence of looking like a major player in the construction field. You can pretty much say what you want, brag, lie, stretch the truth, post pictures of before and after jobs that are not yours. Oh, and I love this one; offer 10 and 20 year workmanship warranties when you work from your P.O Box. Folks this is the internet, this is America, this is an out of controlled situation and nobody can stop the “slop.” Nobody can stop the deception. It’s too big of a job to stop so everyone has just given up to control it. It’s easier to “sweep it under the rug.” Now, millions simply “assume” that whatever is printed online is the truth.

OK, so you get that I’m just a little upset (LOL, to say it nicely) with the whole system? You’re 100% correct!

4. Washington State DOES NOT require a contractor to pass ANY
competency or skills test to become registered. LOL…Are you
serious? Only Electricians and plumbers need to pass tests! ARE YOU SERIOUS! So this must mean that these trades are more important than any other trade! WRONGO…SO any other work that you need done is absolutely so simple that anybody can do it with zero skills in the field of work! This is why our quality in the great US of A is so pathetic!

5. Amazing but true, our own “trusted” Washington State
Department of Labor and Industries states and I quote “a required
current Washington business license ensures the contractor is not
a fly by night company.” This simply goes to show you that you cannot believe everything you read no matter who writes it! Be warned!

6. General and Specialty Contractors are required to have bonds for a homeowner to get some financial recourse if the job is not right or left unfinished, etc. It sounds great, you have protection right! WRONG..not if the bond has been scooped up by a previous customer and there’s nothing left! How can you find out if there’s any money left to go after? Would you want to use that contractor if they have had past customers attach their bond for relief? The tip here is you have no guarantee AND if there are several customers wanting money from a contractor that has done lousy work, the bond money is split up so maybe the $12,000 bond you thought you had coming to you in a lawsuit may be split down to you getting $2,000. WHAT? ya, really!

7. Sadly, even if you look up a contractor to verify if their bond was ever attached. You still don’t get the correct information that you really need! Example, If you called L & I at 800-647-0982 and asked them if a particular contractor’s bond was ever attached for any reason because you wish to make a great informed decision and pick a contractor that has a golden flawless record BUT this contractor was sued in “Small Claims Court” they would tell you that they can only look in Superior Court! WHAT???? So a company can be a bad company and still smell like Roses to L & I AND to you! I know this from first hand experience.

Below is a list of several sites that I STRONGLY suggest you check EVERY contractor out with. Be sure to go to EVERY one of the hyperlinks and figure out how to enter their company name on EVERY contractor you are considering and get to the information you need! It’s there! Well some of it!

8. Verify Bond and Insurance.


9.  Verify contractor gets permits AND gets them finalized.


10. Verify contractor current license.


I feel a whole lot better now that I know you have better knowledge of how to pick a contractor. Oh, and one last thing. “People in glass houses should never throw rocks”…What I’m saying here is that we’ve got a sold company that follows the correct procedures, gets permits and gets them finalized! Pick a proven-quality company that meets ALL of the above checks and balances and one that you HAVE done all the proper investigation on and you will be much better off.