A dear friend of mine lives in New York State and she has a close friend who lives in an old Victorian home. His roof has been slowly leaking for years and he finally decided to get it fixed. So he hired a contractor and moved all his possessions into one room so the contractor could work on the rest of the roof at will. Then he went out of town for the weekend. Well, New York has been getting some pretty heavy rain lately. He returned home to find his possessions under half a foot of water. Why? The contractor didn’t put a tarp on the roof and therefore water leaked in all weekend long.

The lessons to be learned from this story?

1. The main lesson: Make sure your contractor is licensed and bonded. A contractor who is licensed and bonded has the legal responsibility to repair the damage. If your contractor isn’t licensed and bonded, you will have to bring him or her to court to recoup any losses. Depending on how the legal proceedings go and the nature of your agreement with the contractor, there is a possibility you may not win the case. With something as valuable as your home and life possessions, you probably don’t want to gamble with an unlicensed contractor.

2. Do your research. Make sure your contractor knows what he or she is doing and has good references. Check his or her BBB rating. Check local forums and resources to make sure the contractor has done work similar to yours in the past and that it has been done well.

3. When the project is over, go online to a review site to let others know about your experience. Don’t be vindictive. Keep in mind that everybody, even contractors, make mistakes. However, if you record both your good and bad experiences you will help the next person make a decision about which contractor to choose. Choosing a contractor is especially tough because it’s not a common business relationship for most homeowners. For the consumer, the more honest information out there the better. So if you decide to write a review, be honest, be thoughtful and don’t be vindictive. A contractor’s bad behavior will speak for itself.

© Rose Construction 2009