NEED TO KNOW: Tips for hiring a contractor

NEED TO KNOW: Tips for hiring a contractor

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The storm is over, but now the real work begins: repairing your home and property. When hiring help, it's always best to deal with someone from your community and to make sure they are licensed and insured.

Citizens can go to to verify North Carolina contractors' licenses.

Here are some tips to follow when hiring a contractor, and resources to learn more about the quality of their work:

  • Be wary of anyone who approaches you unsolicited or says they can perform your repairs at a discount with leftover supplies from another job.
  • Have your insurance company evaluate the damage before arranging repairs to ensure that the work will be covered under your policy.
  • If the repair isn't urgent, get at least three written, itemized estimates or bids on repairs.
  • Verify that the contractor has a license. North Carolina requires a general contractor’s license for jobs costing $30,000.00 or more. All electricians, plumbers, HVAC, and fire sprinkler contractors must be licensed.

SEARCH: Licensed general contractors

  • Research the company and its reputation – ask for references. You may also contact the Attorney General’s hotline (1-877-5-NO-SCAM) and the Better Business Bureau ( to see if there are complaints against the company.

SEARCH: BBB's list of accredited general contractors by location

  • Check for proof of insurance and verify with the insurer that their policy is current.
  • Check to see if the contractor is bonded and verify with the bonding agency.
  • Never pay the full amount of a repair up front and hesitate before providing large deposits.
  • Read the entire contract, including the fine print, before signing and ensure that the contract includes the required "buyer’s right to cancel" (within 3 days) language.
  • Do not sign a certificate of completion or make final payment until you are satisfied with the work performed.

Homeowners may unknowingly have liens placed against their properties by suppliers or subcontractors who have not been paid by the contractor. If the contractor fails to pay them, the liens will remain on the title. Insist on releases of any liens that could be placed on the property from all subcontractors prior to making final payments.

To report an experience with "storm chasers," visit the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker and help warn others.

When hiring specialized contractors, there are additional factors to consider. Learn more from the BBB:

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