Whether you’re hiring a contractor to complete a home repair or want to make a home improvement, hiring the right contractor can be a tough decision. You may be faced with the following questions: What if the project isn’t completed properly? What if someone is injured on my property during the project? What if the contractor doesn’t complete the project or doesn’t pay the subcontractors? If a problem should arise, it’s important you have the right information to protect yourself and your home.  So, what do you need to know before you hire them?

You should collect the following information from your contractor:

• A copy of their contractor’s license.
• A copy of their certificate of insurance. This should include their coverages for general liability, property damage, and worker’s compensation, and make sure it is up to date.
• A written warranty. This guarantees the work they do, the materials they use, and the subcontractors that work for them.
• A copy of the contract. This should include language on the work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules, and building permits.
• Discuss the need for a lien waiver. This assures you that your general contractor is paying the subcontractors and suppliers that they are working with, so you don’t become liable for any additional cost down the road.
• A receipt. Once the work is complete, be sure to get a copy of the receipt once the project has been paid in full.

Be sure to keep a file of these documents even after the project has been completed. If someone claims they were injured on your property due to the negligence of the contractor, or if one of the contractor’s employees is injured on your property during the project, this paperwork will be important to have on file. If they don’t complete the project properly, or they don’t pay their subcontractors, you will need this information to protect yourself.