The Better Business Bureau began because of a desire for trust in advertising and ethics in the community. For the last century, the mission of the BBB has remained the same: establishing marketplace trust.
What many don’t know is that your BBB does more than rate businesses and take consumer complaints. Your BBB is a non-profit, non-government organization for the public; we resolve disputes between consumers and businesses, provide consumer alerts and tips on the latest scams, and offer deals and discounts from BBB Accredited Businesses.
Our services are offered free to the public, and our ratings can be trusted because they are based on objective criteria, like proper licensing, length of time a company has been operating, or how a company responds to their complaints. Our fair, trusted method of rating businesses provides consumers with a stable foundation for which to base their purchasing decisions. When using bbb.org, consumers can be confident that they are finding accurate, trustworthy business information to help them with the decision on who to hire for a home improvement job, BBB Accredited or not. Consumers feel an added sense of confidence when hiring a BBB Accredited Business as the BBB has already thoroughly vetted the company.
Your BBB has an extensive list of home improvement specialists. The BBB lists 10 items to be aware of when looking for a home improvement specialist:
· Hire only licensed contractors or landscapers. A Contractors State License Board (CSLB) license ensures that the contractor you are doing business with is upstanding, and is up-to-date on all pertinent information for the industry.
· Check a contractor’s license number. Consumers can confirm a contractor’s license by visiting the CSLB website at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-321-CSLB(2752). Be prepared to give the contractor’s name, license number and business address.
· Confirm the contractor or landscaper has worker’s compensation insurance for all employees.
· Get multiple bids. As is smart with any business deal, you should always contact more than one company to request a quote for the service you need. Your BBB has a quick and easy way to get multiple bids called “Request a Quote.” Just visit bbb.org and click on the “For Consumers” page.
· Ask for references. Hiring a contractor should mirror the same process as hiring an employee. It is in your best interest to check them out as much as possible. Make sure their other customers have been happy with the job they’ve done.
· Read and understand the contract before you sign it. Make sure all project expectations are in writing, and NEVER sign a contract unless you have read and fully understood its terms.
· Don’t pay cash. If you pay by check or credit card you have a documented trail of what you have already paid your contractor.
· Don’t pay more than 10% down or $1000, whichever is LESS. Contractors cannot ask for more than 10% or $1000 for down payment.
· Keep records. Don’t count on the contractor to keep your records for you. Keep a file of all contracts and invoices that are in regards to your project. Staying organized will keep both you and your contractor on track.
· Don’t make the final payment until you are completely satisfied. You may also consider making progress payments, which means paying in smaller amounts as work is completed.
Visit BBB.org to learn more about a business or charity, sign up for consumer tips and alerts and much more. Start with Trust, Start with a BBB Accredited Business.