Are you hiring a contractor? Demonstrate Due Diligence | Get out
Before starting your home improvement or repair project, it is essential that you do your due diligence with the contractors you hire. There are a few steps to take when performing your due diligence.
If time is of the essence, meet with a variety of general contractors and sub-contractors so that you have a pool to choose from when you need it. You may not have time to go through a long emergency screening process.
Is the contractor licensed?
If you’ve been a long-time Rosie on the House listener and / or reader of our weekly articles, then you know that any project led by a hired contractor and is over $ 1000 or requires a building permit must be carried out by a licensed contractor by Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
To be a licensed contractor in Arizona, an entity must pass a written exam and have a bond; among other requirements. With the exception of workers’ compensation insurance, the ROC does not require an entity to hold insurance in order to obtain a license. However, you want a contractor with liability insurance for personal injury on your property.
Some fierce “entrepreneurs” will try to get around this problem. They can say:
• “I have a license.” This may be true if it is a commercial license, which is not the same as the OCR license. Many entrepreneurs don’t even know about ROC.
• “I fall under the DIYer’s exemption” Not if they perform electrical work and according to the ROC, “In general, if labor and materials exceed $ 1,000 OR a permit is required (whatever or the price of labor and materials), one mandatory. Read the revised Arizona Bylaws on “Unlicensed Persons; sanctions; applicability ”.
• “I can split bills less than $ 1,000 each.” ILLEGAL. It doesn’t matter how it’s billed. The entire project must be less than $ 1,000.
• “The $ 1,000 is for labor only.” Nope. The threshold is $ 1,000 including parts and labor.
• “I can do the work under someone else’s license.” ILLEGAL.
• “It’s cheaper if you use an unlicensed contractor.” What?! Not in the long run. In for money.
AZROC offers these steps to ensure that the job you are signing up for is the job you are getting.
• Examine the contractor’s license file using the contractor search.
• Check both the license number and the name of the eligible party (person) to see if they are listed under multiple companies.
• Make sure the contractor’s license class allows the work listed in the contract.
• Ask for a list of references and check them.
• Verify that the person you are negotiating your project with is an authorized representative of the licensed contractor by calling the contractor number listed on the ROC license file.
• Request written estimates from at least three (3) contractors. (Rosie recommends interviewing at least three (3) contractors rather than getting estimates from three).
• Make sure that a detailed list / description of the project, including price, responsibility for obtaining building permits and any other relevant conditions, are set out in the quote.
• Review the written estimate and reconcile it with your written contract before signing – make sure the costs match.
• Make sure that a detailed list / description of each aspect of the project is included in the contract.
• Be specific in the contract about the responsibilities of all parties involved. Click here for advice on contracts.
The ROC receives many complaints about contractors claiming to be licensed and actually not – even though their advertisement says so. The only sure way to know that a contractor is licensed is by calling the Registrar of Contractors to confirm it or by checking here.
Education and certifications
Entrepreneurs who are members of trade associations in their industry tend to keep abreast of technologies, techniques, laws, ordinances and other matters that affect their business. Contractors who go one step further and hold industry certifications are required to complete a certain number of hours each year, committing to continue their construction training. Each profession has an association.
Longevity of business
Rosie recommends hiring a contractor with a minimum of five years of experience. This is one of the requirements that entrepreneurs must meet in order to become a Rosie Certified Contractor.
Beware of entrepreneurs who only have a cell phone versus entrepreneurs who have an office and a physical address. Although in today’s world, many entrepreneurs are working from home. Make sure they have another way to be reached in an emergency.
Other considerations and tips
• Never make a hasty decision.
• Does the “scope of work” cover all the things you want to accomplish?
• Only sign a contractual agreement with a properly licensed procurement professional.
• Make checks payable to the name of the company / contractor indicated in your signed contract.
• Never make checks payable to individuals or companies not mentioned in your contract.
• Get a clear payment schedule so you know when payment is expected throughout the project, including special orders, permits, and fees that must be prepaid.
• Avoid home lawyers who offer low cost construction services.
• When interviewing contractors or getting estimates, ask for references.
• Obtain a written contract from the contractor that includes all the services to be provided, the contractor’s license number and the start and end dates of the project.
Always do your homework before hiring a contractor. Contact the ROC office to make sure the contractor is licensed.
If you believe you have been scammed, contact the ROC at 877-692-9762 or the Advice Hotline if you believe that an individual or business is contracting or advertising in violation of state statute. .
Rosie’s tip: You can often find good contractors by asking your friends and neighbors for referrals or by asking contractors you’ve used in the past to recommend people they like to hire themselves. You can also find a list of contractors Rosie has “certified” as well qualified and trustworthy through our referral network.
For more DIY tips, visit rosieonthehouse.com. An expert in the Arizona home construction and renovation industry for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio show from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92 , 3) in Phoenix; KGVY 1080AM 100.7FM; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.