WESTSIDE OBSERVER - DECEMBER 2010
Know Your Contractor
by Anise J. Matteson
Although I am not qualified to provide legal advice I would like to reiterate to seniors and their loved ones to make informed decisions regarding your property and its maintenance.
Some people are fortunate to own one home during their lifetime. Do not give anyone a free house!
Before hiring a contractor check their ad in the Yellow Pages. Compare this information with their website, then review the Better Business Bureau Reliability Report [Business Contact and Profile]. You can contact the Better Business Bureau at (866) 411-2221 to hear a Reliability Report or visit www.oakland.bbb.org to view a report. Also, check the contractor's license through the Contractors State Licensing Board at (800) 321-2750 or www.cslb.ca.gov.
Do not be rushed into signing a contract relying on the 72-hour period in which you can change your mind. Take time to read the contract and understand the terminology. Thoroughly understand Mechanics' Lien Law.
Spend your money wisely. Get more than one estimate for the job. Ask for references.
Go with your gut feeling.
You will know if you should hire the contractor from the response you receive to your questions. If you do not receive a response to your query, or if their response is conditional [based of you performing as they request] it is not in your best interest to proceed.
With the current state of the economy, businesses are hungry for customers and will entice you to get your business---freebies unrelated to the project.
When I was a kid, I heard my mother say “there's no fool like an old fool.”
With age should come wisdom. Request the time to make an informed decision. Do not permit your property subject to collateral for a contract unnecessarily.
Anise Matteson, a writer of reference books for seniors---Caring for an Aging Loved One: The Family Caregiver's Guide Book---can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.