Home improvements and repairs can become costly and are the subject of frequent consumer complaints. When selecting a contractor consider the following tips:
- Get recommendations and references. Talk to friends, family and others who have used the plumber for similar work.
- Get at least three written estimates. Insist the plumber come to your home to evaluate what needs to be done. Be sure the estimates are based on the same work so that you can make meaningful comparisons.
- Make sure the plumber meets licensing and registration requirements. Contact the Engineering Department at (401) 767-9213.
- Contact your local building inspection department to check for permit and inspection requirements. Be wary if the plumber asks you to get the permit-it could mean the firm is not licensed.
- Be sure your plumber is insured. They should have personal liability, property damage and worker's compensation insurance for workers and subcontractors. Also check with your insurance company to find out if you are covered for any injury or damage that might occur.
- Insist on a written contract that states exactly what work will be done, the quality of materials that will be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any subcontractors, the total price of the job, and the schedule of payments.
- Understand your payment options.
- Don't make a final payment or sign a release until you are satisfied with the work and know that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Beware that subcontractors and suppliers can place a lien on your home for bills the contractor failed to pay.
- Pay by credit card when you can. You may have the right to contest the credit card charge until the problems are corrected.