Many Austin homeowners hire contractors to replace their roofs, remodel their homes, or carry out other construction projects. Many of these jobs wrap up without any problems. Countless others, however, leave contractors and their customers at odds with one another.
The good news is that there are some steps that homeowners can take to pick a reliable contractor — which will minimize the risk of ending up in litigation.
1. Check for a valid professional license
You should verify that your prospective candidates have a valid professional license once you narrow down the list of contractors that you’d like to work with. You generally can see if the licensing board has taken disciplinary action against them as well.
2. Ask to see pictures of their work
You should always request to see a contractor’s work portfolio to better understand what they can do. Pictures are far better than descriptions and promises. You should also ask them for references to see what others might have to say regarding their work ethic and conflict resolution abilities.
3. Ask if the contractor carries insurance
Most professional construction companies or contractors will readily produce a copy of their insurance policy when trying to land a sale with you. You should ask them to show you proof of their insurance if they don’t mention it. It should raise red flags if they don’t plan to take out home warranty insurance. It may be a sign that they can’t qualify for coverage for some reason.
4. Never rely on a verbal agreement
Written contracts are the way to go anytime you’re doing business with someone, as they’re the only type of agreement that will stand up in a court of law.
Any construction contract needs to be specific regarding the materials that the contractor plans to use, the cost of the work and its projected deadline. You and your contractor should put anything that you two verbally agree to in writing, and you both should sign and date each addendum to the original contract.
What to do if a conflict arises
Problems can arise, no matter how cautious you are in hiring an Austin contractor. A construction law attorney can provide you with sound guidance in dealing with disputes that arise anywhere in Texas.