Checklist For Hiring A Contractor

(Courtesy of Department of Labor and Industries)

Checking out your contractor on the L&I Web site or contacting the Master Builders Association of Pierce County are some steps you can take to protect yourself against unscrupulous or unqualified contractors. You should also:

  1. Interview qualified contractors and solicit written bids. Bids that are significantly lower than all others should be questioned.
  2. Ask a contractor to show you identification and their L&I contractor-registration card. Then verify the contractor's registration status at or by calling L&I's toll-free contractor-registration line at 1-800-647-0982 or by calling your local L&I service center, listed in the state government section of the telephone book.
  3. Review all aspects of the bid, not just the price. Materials, time frames, cleanup practices, required deposits and references are also important.
  4. Ask for references on similar projects and go look at the finished product. Also, visit a project in progress to see how the contractor operates: Is the site clean? Do they talk to the homeowner and follow-up in writing with changes? References should also include suppliers of products and subcontractors.
  5. Be wary of a contractor who asks for a large deposit or the entire cost upfront. Ten to 15 percent of the bid price is normally sufficient. Before work begins, ask the contractor for the required disclosure statement, called "notice to customers," if your project is valued at more than $1,000. This statement provides you with information about your rights and responsibilities.hallway
  6. Try to anticipate problems such as cost overruns or cleanup, and make sure a written agreement is in place before the work is begun.
  7. Put all change orders in writing and include the additional cost. Ask questions as work progresses. If you don't like an answer or don't understand it, stop the work until you do.
Page Last Modified:
October, 2013