How to Pick a Contractor

Nashville, Tennessee was just named the number one housing market in the United States, surpassing Honolulu and Los Angeles.  That much growth means a lot of contracts for builds, expansions and/or redesigns here in Middle Tennessee.

Contract with Caution!contractor problem

Starting a construction project can be daunting even for experienced consumers. Whether you are planning an extension, a redesign, or a whole new building, pool or other project, knowing which contractors to avoid will go a long way to eliminating potential problems before you even start.

Here are some good tips to eliminate potentially problematic contractors during the bidding process:

  1.  Google them.  Really, it can be that simple. The internet is a wealth of information just waiting to be tapped, and most of it is free.  Sources like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, the Better Business Bureau, and others can tell you all you want to know (and more) about your potential contractor.  Any company can have an “impossible-to-please-customer”.  But, when you see numerous complaints online or hostile responses from the contractor, it is likely better to move on to another potential contractor.
  2. Be Nosey.  Keep in mind though, some businesses can and do quickly change business names or use different names of people in the business to avoid being tracked.  Is that illegal?  No, but it is likely a bit shady.  Find out the license number of the contractor you are investigating and do a little online research with the number.  In other words, Google it!  You will discover the name of any business that contractor has been associated with up to several years or more.  Does the name change frequently?  Buyer beware.
  3. Trust your Gut.  If your spidey sense is tingling, use caution!  If something doesn’t sound right,  make sense or is wildly out of line with other bids, odds are it is best not to proceed.  Doing so could be to your detriment.
  4. License Check.  Is your contractor actually licensed?  The Contractor Licensing Board keeps a list of licensed contractors in Tennessee.  Visit http://verify.tn.gov/ and look for your contractor.  Note, you do have to correctly “classify” the contractor from the drop down menu to be able to find them.  It can be a bit tricky.  If you need help, call the Contractor Licensing Board directly at the number on the website.  
  5.  Visit the Courthouse.  You may be able to call instead, depending on how many contractors you are researching, but simply checking with the courthouse in your county – or neighboring counties – can reveal if your contractor has been sued previously – and how often.  Remember to look for both the name of the business, the sales person, or business owner.  And, you will need to check BOTH with the General Sessions Clerk (this court has jurisdiction over cases under $25,000) and the Circuit Court Clerk (this is not the County Clerk where you get your car tags) as well.  It is a little more legwork but the peace of mind is worth it.
  6. Reference Check.  Ask for references and check them!  A former client hired a contractor who appeared to have great references.  They checked with some of the references.  Things seemed fine.  But, the one they didn’t call could have prevented a lot of trouble had they checked with her.  Turns out, the contractor listed her as a reference without her permission and who, if called, would have given them a terrible reference.   Do your due diligence and cover your bases.  You will be glad you did.
  7. Check the “Problem Contractors” list.  And, you can simply check the “Problem Contractors” list with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.   The link is http://www.tn.gov/commerce/article/consumer-problem-contractors.

These few short tips can save you a lot of money and trouble when you are looking for a general contractor, electrician, roofer and otherwise in the Nashville, Tennessee / Middle Tennessee area.

And if you do have a problem, please contact us.  We will be glad to help you towards your goal of achieving a just resolution to your case.

TLHR

 

 

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