A subcontractor is an individual or company that is responsible for a specific area of construction/home improvement. Subcontractors are plumbers, electricians, framers, tile setters, carpet layers-you get the point. But hiring a subcontractor can be a shot in the dark if you don’t know them from Adam-unless you know these three things that can help you find the right subcontractor for your home improvement job.
The proper license is required for many subcontractors, but not all of them. And it even gets more complicated when national, state, county and city licensing gets involved. So what does your subcontractor need?
Always check with the local building department before you call any subcontractor. Local codes might call for a county mason’s license for instance. You can find out about your states licensing laws and who has one at the contractors-license.org. A properly licensed subcontractor has to have a degree; minimum four years work experience and a minimum of one year as a foreman. A licensed subcontractor is guaranteed to have experience.
A licensed subcontractor should also have updated forms to prove they are both insured for liability (in case they break materials) and workman’s compensation (in case they break themselves). They should be able to provide you with an unexpired certificate of insurance and workman’s comp proof when they arrive for the estimate.
Even with all of that documentation, they still might not be what you think they are. A good subcontractor will always have references. And you should immediately follow them up after the estimate. While the price may be good, the work might not be.
A qualified subcontractor should be able to provide you with three references you can check out. A phone call or an address is a must and you should always follow up. If the work looks good and the homeowners are pleased, then you’re ready to hire your new subcontractor!