You are ready to start your next remodeling or new addition project and you may have found recently, there is a lot of competition in the market in regards to "contractors" offering contractor services. As the budget conscious homeowner, you take the time to call and schedule contractor's to come out and give what you are hoping to be a fair price. The reality is you are looking for the most "bang for your buck" and in today's world who wouldn't? Your time is valuable and after the the third or fourth estimate you become tired of calling,meeting people, and just want the job done! It is at this point that many homeowners make a crucial mistake - choosing the cheapest price presented which is probably followed by subpar construction services. Buyer Beware!
Keep in mind, that cheaper isn't always better in the long run, especially if the "contractor" you chose turns out not to be a legitimate contractor. Now you might be asking, "How can I tell if the contractor I am about to choose is going to be the one for me?" To help you in this area, I recommend asking the following questions:
Is the contractor local and did they arrive at your home with signage on their vehicle?
Does the contractor's business card look professionally done or is it something that looks like it just come off their home printer?
Does the contractor offer an estimate? Does this estimate list all repairs, exact cost for labor and materials, details about the scope of the work, any guarantees and/or warranty?
If you answered NO to any of the questions above, the best possible advice you could ever receive is "Do Additional Homework On The Contractor In Question". Take the time and learn more about the person you're about to give your hard earned money too. If you don't that "cheap" quote could easily end up costing you more in the end!
For homeowner's in Virginia know that you are protected. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires all legitimate contractors to be licensed through the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. The DPOR's goal is to ensure the minimum competency necessary to practice without harming the public, not to enhance professional stature or limit competition by keeping newcomers out. Policy boards determine the minimum standards necessary to enter a profession, and qualify applicants based on a combination of education, experience and examination. DPOR also enforces standards of professional conduct. The agency investigates reports of regulatory violations and seeks to obtain compliance with the law or, when necessary, to discipline the licensee. Regulatory board sanctions against licensees include fines, probationary terms, suspension or license revocation.
Unlicensed activity—practicing a profession or contractor services without a required state license—is a misdemeanor criminal violation. Regulatory boards do not have jurisdiction over unlicensed individuals. The type of license the contractor holds will determine the scope of work he/she is permitted to conduct.
In Virginia click the following link to see if the contractor you are considering is officially licensed DPOR License Lookup