City of Ocean Springs

    Hiring A Contractor

    Detail out what you want done and who you will need to complete it. No two projects are the same and may require a specially licensed contractor.

    When comparing estimates from different contractors, don't just compare the bottom line cost. Look at the cost and quality of materials for each one. Be sure the estimate includes the total price, the materials to be used, a time table for payments and the expected time line for completion of the work.

    Get proof that the contractor you may be working with is licensed. Contact your state's licensing board to check the status of their license. Only work with contractors who are currently licensed.

    Ask your contractor for three references in writing. When speaking with the references ask if they were satisfied with the contractor's work. Ask if the contractor kept to the schedule and the contract terms.

    The contract should be a detailed description of the work to be done, the material to be used and the equipment to be installed. Be sure there is a schedule of payments and a time line for when the work will be completed. Be sure you understand the contract before you sign it. Any changes that occur should be noted in writing.

    The down payment you should pay in order for work to begin should be minimal. Beware of a contractor who is asking for a large payment so that they can purchase the materials to begin your project.
    Set up a payment schedule that follows the amount of work completed. Never pay for something that has not been completed. Do not pay for anything in cash.
    Check in regularly on the progress of the work. Any and all permits should be displayed by the contractor while the work is being done.
    Before making the final payment make sure that you are satisfied with the completed work. Verify that any and all liens have been released.
    Be sure to keep a file of all papers and documents that pertain to your project. This includes the contract, any written changes, all bills and invoices, receipts of payments and all correspondence with your contractor. This should also include photos of the job in progress.

    Always Hire A Licensed Contractor

    Checklist For Pre-Screening Contractors

    1. The contractor's complete information, including the company name, address, phone number and the full name and license number of the builder/contractor and the salesperson;
    2. A detailed description of the work to be done, including specifics on materials such as color, quantity, size, model number, brand name and product.
    3. The contract price, which would be the exact dollar amount the contractor will be owed at the completion of all work listed in the contract.
    4. A payment schedule that parallels the amount of work completed, with"retention" (a percentage of each payment or of the total job which you retain until the job is completed). This is to include all payments to be made to subcontractors and suppliers as well.
    5. The start and completion dates for work to be done that allows for any reasonable delays. This should also include a clause that allows for you to withhold payment if work slows down for no apparent reason.
    6. A statement that all required building permits and variances required by your city, state and county will be obtained by the contractor before work is begun.
    7. A guarantee that the contractor carries liability insurance and has Workers' Compensation coverage; to protect you in case of accidents on the job;
    8. A statement of warranty on the work; be sure it tells if labor and materials are guaranteed, and for how long with the names and addresses of the parties honoring the warranties.
    9. A statement of what cleanup and removal of debris and materials will be done by the contractor, as well as giving instructions regarding pets, children or areas where materials may not be stored.
    10. A right to cancel clause detailing the time frame in which you may cancel after the contract has been signed along with any penalties that you may incur when canceling after work has begun.

    ALWAYS REQUIRE A SIGNED CONTRACT