The first place I look is to Angie’s List.http://www.angieslist.com/. My Company pays Angie’s List thousands of dollars every year to advertise there. But for the consumer, Angie’s list has unbiased reviews. Even I have gotten a few negative reviews from people I could not please. But in all honesty I got many leads based on how I responded to those negative reviews. Their service cost only $10 for the year. I have used Angie’s list myself to hire or check out contractors. Speaking from experience, Angie’s contractors work very hard to keep an “A” rating. Also if a contractor has a felony they are not allowed to advertise on Angie’s. We all get back ground checks before advertising there.
Labor and Industries.
www.protectmyhome.net is the L and I web site. Check to see if their license, insurance and bonds our current. A $6k bond means they are a specialty contractor. A $12k bond means they are a General contractor and can provide services other than what they advertise for.
Search the Better Business Bureau: here is an example of mine:
www.bbb.org 206-431-2222 (western Washington BBB)
In my opinion if a company has a B- rating or less on the BBB due to unresolved complaints, be leery of hiring that company. To me this means in the last 12 months they have had several upset customers that have reported them. And possibly countless more that did not try to stand up to being taken advantage of. The BBB is not part of the Government like most people think. Their system is not perfect and no system is. Here is some of how the BBB rates a business: http://www.bbb.org/council/overview-of-bbb-grade/
Even though I have advertised with Home Advisor in the past and may do so in the future. If I were a home owner looking for a contractor I would have about the same luck using the phone book. If you use a contractor from Home Advisor, check the L and I web site to see if they were Licensed and bonded. To my understanding anyone with a contractor license can advertise with Home Advisor. They do not post their reviews for the public to see. They verify the contractor information at the time of enrollment, then the contractors are responsible for maintaining their accounts past enrollment. When they do find an issue, they do follow up and stop new customers from being matched to that professional. If a professional has no license or insurance, and it is required, Home Advisor reserves the right to terminate their membership. They charge their contractors per lead.
There are many associations, such as AGC- Associated General Contractors of Washington and the Master Builders Association. Both of which I have had good and bad experiences hiring contractors. I highly recommend that you approach members with the same caution as if you were hiring from a phone book. Just because a contractor belongs to an association does not mean they are honest.
GOOGLE is your FRIEND.
Search google for the “Business name” and “Reveiws”
Search public recorded documents:
Pierce County: https://armsweb.co.pierce.wa.us/
King County: http://www.kingcounty.gov/business/Recorders/RecordsSearch.aspx
Kitsap county: http://kcwaimg.co.kitsap.wa.us/recorder/eagleweb/docSearch.jsp
No recordings is a good thing. If you do find recordings make sure you know who you are looking for. There are many times that you will need to use the contractor’s name. Know the order of which to fill the name in the blank because many times it will be last name first.
Office of the Attorney General: http://www.atg.wa.gov/ Consumer Resource Center: 1-800-551-4636
Tips to dealing with contractors and protecting yourself:
1. Create a detailed plan with an itemized list of what you need done.
2. Find potential contractors. Don’t plan hire the cheapest contractor you can find. Most people that do this end up paying much more in the end. I have seen my bids beat and then find out later that the contractor they hired fell a tree on their house or even worse, on the neighbor's house. I have other stories I can tell, but you get the point. I, myself am guilty and have hired the cheapest and ended up paying twice for the same work and it cost me more than the high bid in the end. It’s simply human nature and hoping for the best with the least spent. Now I often don’t even pay attention to the price, but hire on reputation and referrals. Hiring contractors is no easy task, so do your research and homework carefully.
3. Check them out online and verify registration and reviews with the links above.
4. Compare written bids, quotes or estimates. Just because one gave you a verbal does not mean he is obligated to do the work. Only what is written on the contract must be completed.
5. Finalize a written agreement and read the quote, proposal, estimate, or bid and contract. What is the difference? Typically estimates are subject to change, this is why they are called estimates. Proposals, quotes, or bids should contain information that should not change unless noted. Written contracts vary from contractor to contractor.
6. Be careful how and when you pay. In my opinion its best to pay with a check or credit card.
This way you will have proof that you paid, and less chance a con man could place a lien on your property. You could have to pay twice for the same work if you pay in cash. I do not recommend giving any contractor a deposit at the start of the job unless there is a high cost of materials or dump fees. If you have any doubt you can always request to go through an escrow company (I offer this at an additional fee) to protect yourself and the contractor. Draws are acceptable, but do not pay for work that has not been done. This protects you!! Con men always have an excuse as to why they need the money upfront. If they are such poor money managers they need $500 to get started on a $2000 job, this is a red flag.
7. At the time you pay in full and on each progress payment have the contractor sign a lien release.
Warning: Identity theft and impersonation of contractors.
This does not just happen to me but any contractor with a good reputation.
Over the years I have gotten reports that there are a few people illegally using my contractors info, license number, web site, my excellent reputation and on-line reviews to gain work in the tree service and excavation industry. I have received calls from people that I have never done work for, tell me I need to come finish their job. Others have said they want to hire me but I have never met them before. There are reports of contractors that have lost their licenses and they impersonate me or claim to be employees of my company.
I have gotten calls from government agencies wanting to fine me for working with out permits in cities I have never worked in through out the state of Washington. They claimed I removed trees from city properties, or did tree removals without permits in cities like Bellevue and Seattle. I do not service these areas. I service, Tacoma, Puyallup, Federal Way, Aurburn, Lake Wood, and surrounding areas.
FYI, I do own more than one DBA (doing business as) besides Bobs Property Solutions. I also advertise under Tree Cutting service, Arborist Tree service, and Bobs Stump Grinding, for the most part. If you look up my business on the state website you can view all my DBAs. This is a common business practice for advertising.
Hello, My name is Bob. I have been in the same boat as you. Where and how do I find contractors that are honest and provide quality workmanship? As you read this page I will share some tips and warnings with you. These are the tools I use to hire honest contractors..
Find honest Tree Service contractor in Tacoma and Puyallup WA. Bobs Property Solutions also known as https://www.treecuttingservice.net/ is your best choice for a tree service contractor in Tacoma and tree service Puyallup WA. We also do stump grinding in Tacoma and Puyallup, and in federal way Stump removal.