Hiring a contractor can be a confusing and difficult process. For that reason, I am going to give you some hints taken directly from the Consumer Protection Notice the State of Oregon requires us to give every customer at the time of contract. I think it’s beneficial to you to know this information beforehand.
- Make sure your contractor has a proper license
You can check your contractor’s license at www.oregon.gov/ccb and click the link, “Check on a Contractor’s License.” You can also call 503-378-4621 to find out if your contractor has a license. Why is this important? Contractors are required to take training and pass a test on the law and business practices. This can also impact their insurance, or even yours. Licensing requires contractors to have a surety bond that will help cover them and you in the event something does go awry.
- Get all bids, contracts and change orders IN WRITING
A word about bids: Do NOT accept the lowest bid. Quality does have a cost, and a lower rate can cause your contractor to use low-rate materials or workers.
Make sure the contractor’s name, CCB number and contact information is included in the contract.
Ask for a detailed contract for your protection including costs, estimated start and end times, permits, debris removal and arbitration information.
Always thoroughly read and understand your contract and ask questions. Never sign something you have questions about. If your contractor won’t answer questions, they are not the one for you.
- Get a payment schedule that you both stick to and never pay before your project is done!
- Problems with a contractor should be reported to the CCB within one year of the substantial completion of work. You can only file a complaint with the CCB against a licensed contractor, so it is up to you to do your due diligence and make sure your contractor is licensed.
Every contractor is required to give you a copy of this notice which is summarized here, and you are to both sign it. This is a matter of Oregon law. I think it is helpful if you know about this information before you accept a bid or even meet with a contractor so you can do your homework about the people/companies you are considering.