Debby Abe, Labor & Industries Public Affairs
When it comes to remodeling, hiring a qualified contractor can mean the difference between a home improvement and a renovation nightmare.
Starting this week, experts from the Department of Labor & Industries will be available at the Washington State Fair, and later at home shows throughout the state, to offer tips on achieving the remodeling project of your dreams.
One key to success is hiring a contractor registered with the state. Registered contractors must have liability insurance, a business license and a bond, which gives homeowners some monetary recourse if a job is left undone.
L&I also recommends consumers:
- Interview and get written bids from at least three contractors. If one bid is significantly lower, question whether all construction rules will be followed and what corners may be cut.
- Pay only as each stage of work is completed. Consider paying suppliers directly.
- Before making final payment, have the general contractor provide a “lien waiver”— a document signed by all major subcontractors and suppliers acknowledging they’ve been paid in full. Otherwise, unpaid subcontractors and suppliers could file liens against the homeowner’s property, even if the general contractor has been paid in full.
- Visit ProtectMyHome.net. It’s a one-stop shop to check contractor registration, learn about disclosure statements, and get L&I’s “Hire Smart” worksheet, a lien waiver form and much more.
For more one-on-one advice, stop by the L&I booths at the:
- Everett Fall Home and Gift Show, Comcast Arena – Sept. 27 – 29, 2013
- Portland Fall Home and Garden Show, Portland Expo Center – Oct. 3 – 6, 2013
- Seattle Home Show 2, CenturyLink Field Event Center – Oct. 4 – 6, 2013
- Tri-Cities Fall Home Show, TRAC Center – Oct. 4 – 6, 2013
- Peninsula Home & Remodel Expo, Kitsap Sun Pavilion – Oct. 4 – 6, 2013
- Puyallup Home & Garden Show 2014, Washington State Fair Events Center – Jan. 3 – 5, 2014