To avoid fraud, overcharging and the risk of substandard work, it’s important to take time to choose the contractor you hire to make repairs and improvements on your home. Here are some important guidelines:
Seek references. Check the prospective contractor out online: Angie’s List, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau are good places to look. The contractor should also be able to provide positive testimonials from previous clients.
Get bids from more than one contractor. Get the bids in writing, and look for detail about exactly what will be done. Depending on the nature of the work, you may wish to specify the kinds of appliances, fixtures, etc. that will be used. Beware of the “low-ball” bidder whose price is much lower than everyone else’s. A very low bidder may not plan to include all the specific tasks you might expect, may use very cheap, inexperienced labor or second-rate materials. Most of the legitimate bids will fall into a fairly close range.
Request proof of licensing and insurance. Electricians must be licensed, bonded and insured. You can also check with the issuing licensing agency about the contractor’s credentials and see if there are any complaints.
Verify any claims. If the contractor recommends particular products or services that will enhance energy savings or home value, make sure the claims are valid.
Ask for a schedule. You should know how long the work will take and when it will be performed. Again, choosing price over quality could end up costing you valuable time.
Get a contract. Most home repair and remodeling work is performed under contract. Legitimate businesses will usually insist on having a contract for their own protection, and a good contract should protect the homeowner, too. Do not sign a contract with blanks in it. It happens: the blanks get filled in later, and the new terms are not likely to be in the consumer’s favor. Nor should you sign a contract until you have carefully read and understood every word of it. It can be difficult to get out of a signed contract.
Make sure everything promised to you is in the written contract. Insist on a written contract that specifically states what the contractor will do and when the work will be done. Make sure the contract includes everything the contractor promised and spells out the cost of special orders and materials. Most contractors will not allow you to change your mind for free about what you want done or how you want it done. Often a contractor will require a service charge for changing the work order, and this should be covered in the contract.
Do not allow anyone to rush you into signing a contract. The salesperson should be willing to leave the contract with you so you can read it carefully on your own time. If anyone tries to make you sign on the spot (or will not leave a copy for you to study), you should view that as a red flag.
All Star Electric, located in San Antonio, is family-owned and operated, fully licensed, bonded and insured. You can be confident that when you hire us you will receive the highest level of skill from electricians with 20+ years of experience. We are a Better Business Bureau accredited business and an Angie’s List Super Service Award-winner.
Call us at (210) 391-0274 or click here to request a free estimate.