Very Important Siding & Construction Tips by Dave Mason

Tip #1: Finding a Contractor that is Legal!

It is very important to find a contractor to work on your project that is currently and legally licensed, insured and bonded. When checking out a prospective contractor, for your protection, check with the Better Business Bureau and/or the local Home Builders Associations to find out about the specific contractor. If the contractor you have in mind is not a member of either of these organizations, or has a bad rating with them, you may not want to waste your time getting a proposal from the contractor.

In order to save you time and aggravation ask each and every prospective contractor, that you may later have look at your project, to mail or fax you current copies of the items listed below, before they even come out to look at your project. If a prospective contractor can not or will not take the time to provide you with all of their current information the contractor is probably not legal.

  • City, State Business, State "Specialty or General Contractor" and/or Borough Licenses
  • Liability and Workman's Compensation Insurance Certificate
  • Bond

Many contractors will tell you that they are licensed, insured and bonded but in reality they legally are not. Make sure to look at the dates on all of the forms that each contractor gives you to make sure that the dates are current, if the dates on any of the forms are not current you should not bother even getting a proposal from the contractor.

Many consumers over the years have found out the hard way, when things went wrong on their project, that the contractor they hired was not legally licensed, or insured, or bonded and in far to many cases the consumer lost thousands upon thousands of dollars.

Did you know that the only contractors that can legally install siding on your home or building, according to the laws of Alaska, are a "Specialty Contractor" or a "General Contractor". Contractors with a "Handyman" license can not legally install siding on you home. Fines of up to $10,000.00 can be imposed by the state of Alaska if an illegal contractor or person works on your home or building.

Tip #2: Picking a Quality Contractor

Most quality contractors will show up for appointments with you on time or they will call you if they are running late for an appointment with you.

Quality contractors should provide you with current dated copies of all of their licenses, bonds & insurance. If a contractor does not or can not give you copies of the these items beware!

Most quality contractors are members of the Better Business Bureau and the State & National Home Builders Associations.

If a contractor does not offer pages and pages of written references for you to call or drive by beware!

Quality contractors are normally very knowledgeable and will go over the fine details of your project with you.

Quality contractors normally have portfolios to show you of past projects or offer a very knowledgeable and informative web site with past customer photographs for you to view.

If a proposed contractor does not give you a detailed written proposal covering every aspect of your project and the materials he or she is offering, you should not consider the contractor. If a contractor only offers a verbal contract or something written on the back of a business card or scratch paper beware!

If you decide to sign a contract with a given contractor make sure that the contract is not "Open Ended" as it should specifically state what is included for a set given price. (Unless you and the contractor have agreed on some issue that is unforeseen and a fixed price can not be set for that specific item I.E. rotted wood behind your gutters and so on)
Many quality contractors will give you a chart showing many specific things that their company offers for most or all of their projects.

Never ever pay a contractor the full amount of the contract price up front or until the project is complete and you are happy with what he or she did for you. Most quality and honest contractors will ask for 1/3 down with the signed contract, 1/3 when the material arrives and the project is started, and the last 1/3 when the project is substantially completed. Substantially completed-means that the project is 98 to 99% completed and the workers have left leaving some simple final thing to take care of I.E. a light or mail box to install but the parts need to be ordered or picked up.