The allure of low interest rates may make you eager to embark on a home improvement project. But before you choose a contractor, SAHBA and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AROC) advise homeowners to do their homework.
AROC handles thousands of consumer complaints about poor workmanship, unfulfilled contracts and agreements, deceptive advertising, and violations of safety or labor laws. Several complaints are filed against licensed contractors.
AROC holds the contractor responsible for workmanship problems for two years from date of completion.
For recovery, you can appeal to the Residential Contractors Recovery Fund that compensates consumers for claims up to $30,000. If you use an unlicensed contractor, you lose access to the recovery fund.
Another safeguard is The SAHBA Remodelers Council, which provides education and certification for local professional remodelers. SAHBA has a list of certified remodelers available to consumers.
How do you verify a licensed contractor’s record?
By calling 1-888-271-9286 or searching online (www.rc.state.az.us). You may learn if the contractor’s license has been suspended or revoked, or if consumers have filed prior complaints against the person or the company, according to AROC.
Here are more tips from AROC to avoid scams or poor work.
• Get at least three written bids from licensed contractors. Be cautious of bids that seem too good to be true.
• Ask for references and talk to previous customers.
•Carefully plan and pre-approve the project.
•Negotiate a clear contract in writing that includes:
• A list of materials with specifications
• Start and end dates
• The total price and payment schedule. Ask if there is a cancellation penalty.
• Special requests or features
• Ask to see all necessary building permits
• OK completion only after you’ve done a thorough “walk-through” and are satisfied with the work
• OK all changes to plans and specifications