Before undertaking a project, be it remodel or new construction, following these steps will minimize the risks associated with hiring the wrong person. All too often we see homeowners on TV that were taken advantage of. Follow these steps to reduce the chance that this happens to you.
Step 1: Run Background Checks. The state of Oklahoma has a free resource online for performing background checks. All you need is a name and you can see if they have any disputes, charge offs, lawsuits, bankruptcies, felonies, foreclosures, etc… As mentioned above, you are about to write some rather large checks and hand them to someone you just met. How ethical are they in their financial and personal dealings? If they are not paying their bills with your money, you could have the privilege of paying for your materials twice! (By the way – when you run mine, my middle initial is not L or W, nor have I ever been married to Patsy in Rodgers county!)
Here’s the link: http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/casesearch.asp
- If your browser blocks the link, go to : www.oscn.net
- Then select “Court Dockets” on the top menu tab
- Then select “Search Dockets” in the left column. Input their name (try different versions “Charles/Chuck”) and see what you get.
- If you feel uncomfortable with the results – move on – there are many contractors in this state!
Step 2: Check for General Liability Insurance. This is different than Workers Comp – WC protects the worker that gets injured on a job – if you are hiring a one-man-show, he may not need WC. But if you are having someone work on your home, legitimate contractors will carry General Liability insurance. The next part to this question is “How Much”? The standard $300,000 does not go too far in some homes. How much is your home worth, including the contents? We carry $2 million just for that reason. But asking for the contractors insurance provides a strong screening tool – if someone is paying the money for insurance, they usually aren’t working for tonight’s beer or drug money!