For most people, you need to hire a contractor to renovate your home, or just upgrade the electrical system. Not all of us can do it ourselves with the help of Home Depot or Lowes.
When you do need to hire someone, you need to hire a licensed contractor. Why? One, it is the law (for most work), and two, it helps to ensure that if there is a problem, there is at least a performance bond that can be available to fix the problem.
To that end, one of your first stops should be the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB), who are tasked with licensing and regulating contractors. There, you can check to see if the contractor you plan on hiring is licensed, plus a whole lot more. You can also see if they have any complaints filed with the CCB, plus see who their insurance is through. You can also learn about liens that you need to protect yourself against, plus useful information for dealing with disputes with contractors.
But, if you do get into a dispute, do not wait. There is a specific process you need to follow, and tight time frames to act. Stevens & Legal is here to assist you with that process if you need help.
What to Look for in a Contractor
Make sure they are licensed.
Make sure they have insurance and are bonded. Performance bonds and insurance (commercial general liability) are different things, though similar in concept.
Check for complaints with the CCB and the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind most companies that have been in business for a long time and do a large volume of work will inevitably have a complaint. It is how they deal with those complaints that will help you find a good contractor.
Check the internet for reviews. Whether it is Angie's List, Facebook, Google, or Yelp, there are many websites out there that allow customers to comment, review, or both.
Ask for references. Assuming the contractor has done other projects, they should be able to tell you about other projects and give you names of those customers. Then, call one or two and be prepared to ask good questions, and not just did they do a good job. Ask if they were within budget, did they get the work done on time, were there any problems. You may be making a major investment, so treat it like you would buying a new car.
Get it in writing. If they will not provide bids/estimate in writing, then run, run far away.
If problems develop with your contractor, your first step is to talk to them. If that does not resolve the issue, then consider a complaint with the CCB. After that, perhaps a lawyer. However, litigation can be expensive, time consuming, and protracted, with no guarantee you win, as the judge/jury/arbitrator may see things differently. Sometimes it is better to walk away if the issue is minor, than to spend a week in court in Hillsboro, Portland, Oregon City, or even McMinnville. But, if it comes to that, you can contact Stevens & Legal to help guide you through the process.