Landscape & Construction, Inc.
Service Diversity - Quality - Customer Satisfaction 

P.O. Box 964 - Oxford, Ohio  45056
Phone:  (513) 839-5234                            Email:  bm@bmlandscape.com
Toll Free:  (866) 656-1119
Fax:  (513) 523-4249

Hiring a Contractor
When interviewing a contractor, be sure to ask the following:

Can I have three references from customers in the past 12 months? Past three years?
Use references to check the contractor's current and past work history.

What professional/trade organizations are you are a member of?
Check membership standing in the organization provided.

What insurance coverage do you have?
At a minimum, contractors should have Workman's Compensation, general liability (including property and personal liability) and automobile insurance. These policies help protect you and your property from potential legal problems, should an accident occur. Call the insurance agency to confirm effective dates of the insurance policies. When a contractor starts a job, it's good practice to have a valid certificate of insurance naming you and your property as co-insured.  Have the contractor contact his insurance agency and request that a copy be mailed directly to you.  Do not accept a photocopy.

How long have you been in business?
A contractor with at least five years’ experience usually has a stable business foundation and is reliable.

Have you taken any classes or attended any trade seminars in the past 2 years?
Industry trade shows, seminars and classes help a contractor stay on top of the latest solutions and techniques for remodeling and building.  Courses centered on managing a business successfully are also important.

Based on the project detail, what permits may be required?
The contractor should be familiar with local building code requirements.

May I have an itemized estimate on the project that includes materials, labor, overhead, and a time frame?
The estimate should be in writing in order to compare it with the estimates you receive from the other two contractors.  

Checking References on Potential Contractors
To gain insight on a contractor's work ethic, call all references and ask the following questions: 

-  How did you find out about this contractor?       
-  How long ago did this contractor work for you? 
-  What was the quality of the finished project?
-  Did the contractor recommend a contract, including a written estimate? 
            -If not, did you request a contract?  Did the contractor balk at the idea?
-  Did the project go over the original estimate? 
            -If so, by how much?  What changes from the original project did you request?  Did the contractor provide an 
            acceptable detailed explanation?
-  Did the contractor use a written change order form before making changes to the original estimate?
-  Did the contractor stay on schedule and report to work in a timely manner?
-  Did the contractor have a good attitude throughout the project?
-  Did anything unusual or unsettling happen during the course of the project?
-  How qualified were the workers and subcontractors?
-  How accessible was the contractor?
-  Was the site clean and safe at all times?
-  Would you recommend this contractor to your family and friends?
-  Would you use this contractor again?

After you have checked at least three references on your potential contractors, contact the State Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection or the Better Business Bureau to see if any of the contractors have been named in conflicts/lawsuits.
 
Checking the Work Site
If possible, visit at least one previous work site, preferably where similar work to your project was done and look for the following:

-  Look for the quality of workmanship and detail.  For instance, if a new door and window were part of an addition to a house, are the corners and joints on windows and doorframes tight?  Are there paint runs on the woodwork and walls?  Does the addition fit with the previously existing structure?  In a remodeled kitchen, do the oven, dishwasher, refrigerator or cabinet doors interfere with each other?  Your eyes are the best reference you have when visiting a former work site, so check things over carefully.  

Reviewing and Choosing an Estimate
Do not sign anything until you understand all aspects of the contract.  Keep all documentation related to the project.  Once you receive all estimates, take time to compare them.  Don't base your decision on price alone.  Keep the following steps in mind before you make your decision: 

-  Be cautious of an extremely low bid.  Compare all items on the bid.
-  Check the cost of materials.  Some estimates may contain lower quality materials, which reduce the cost of the project.  Review any items you do not understand with the contractor.
-  Time frame is an important factor.  If one bid is higher in labor cost but the contractor can finish the job in two weeks instead of two months, the additional cost is justified.  

B & M Landscape & Construction, Inc. BBB Business Review

 

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