Tips on Hiring Contractors

Frequently, the Building Department is requested to assist property owners in the resolution of problems involving construction or improvement projects. Often, issues arise well into or at the completion of the project.

Most disputes can be avoided if proper precautions are taken from the start. Before entering into a contract for construction, repairs, additions, or improvements to your property, please consider the following:

  • Obtain at least three written proposals.
  • Obtain a list of references from the contractor and investigate them.
  • Inquire how long the contractor has been in business.
  • Inquire as to who will be assigned as the project supervisor for the job.
  • Inquire about the time frame for starting the job and how long the job will take to complete.
  • Inquire whether the contractor will be using employees or subcontractors.
  • Inquire whether the contractor carries worker’s compensation.
  • Compare proposals to ensure each contractor has proposed the same work and that the scope of the work is clearly stated.
  • Inquire with the Better Business Bureau and Ohio Attorney General's Office regarding all contractors considered.
  • Confirm that all contractors considered are currently registered with the City of Berea.
  • Require that the contractor obtain and provide copies to you of all necessary permits and approvals prior to beginning any work on your project.
  • If the contractor requires a deposit, it should be modest; beware of large down payments.
  • Never make final payment unless you are fully satisfied with the work and have confirmed that all final inspections have been made. Also, require confirmation that the contractor has completely paid all subcontractors and material suppliers associated with the project.
  • Beware of out-of-state home improvement contractors.
  • Beware of contractors working outside of their normal field of expertise. For example, it may not be wise to hire ABC Painting to install your new driveway.
  • Consult legal counsel immediately if you have any contractual questions or concerns.