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Kaplan: Tips for hiring Sun City contractor


This guide provides tips for Sun City West residents looking to hire a contractor for home repairs or renovations. It covers finding a reputable contractor, verifying their credentials, setting expectations, and monitoring the job’s progress.

Use resources like PORA, referrals, or online reviews to look for a contractor. Check their credentials and reputation with the better business bureau and the state Registrar of Contractors. Also check their business experience, license, insurance, and bond.

Communication, professionalism, and preparedness are important factors to consider when selecting a contractor. Obtain, examine, and contrast estimates from two to three contractors. Having more than three estimates can make things complicated. Make sure you have a detailed written agreement and schedule for the job. A good contractor should explain what they will do and what the outcome will be and should encourage your questions.

A good contractor will show the cost of each task and the total cost in the estimate, and let you remove any task you don’t want and see how that affects the price. Any change in estimate needs both your and the contractor’s signatures. If you don’t have a clear written contract, you may have trouble getting help from the state’s attorney or small claims court if there are problems.

Ask about the warranty offered on the work and keep paperwork organized. A transferable warranty on big repairs can help sell a home in the future. Take photos of the site before the project begins and set rules for working conditions. A good contractor will clean up the work area and leave you any extra materials. They will also follow local rules about noise and work hours and be polite to the neighbors. You don’t want to have problems with your neighbors after the project is over!

Request a written timeline from the contractor for the job. Make sure you know what causes a payment and how much. Many contractors will require a deposit to reserve the start date, and then have payments when major parts of the work are completed. You never should pay the final payment before getting the final permit approval of the finished job, if needed. Many contractors will obtain the permit for you, but you likely will have to pay for it. Make sure this is clear and how much the permit costs. The contractor should give you a receipt for the permit and not charge you more than the actual cost.

On the last day, inspect the work and request a waiver of mechanics lien (this is a legal document from the contractor that confirms they paid all third parties, you paid them fully, and waives any future right to lien your property by them or others for nonpayment). Get a paid invoice or statement with warranty details. Pay the company, not the contractor’s name — that could be suspicious.

By following these tips, residents of Sun City West can feel confident in their choice of contractor and ensure a successful outcome for their project.

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.