Washington Warns Against Unqualified Contractors

January 12, 2007

In the wake of a fierce windstorm that left many Wenatchee, Wash.-area homes damaged, the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is reminding the public to be mindful and not to take shortcuts when hiring contractors to make repairs.

Licensed contractors are required to:
* Register with the state.
* Carry a minimum of $250,000 of liability insurance.
* Obtain a $6,000-$12,000 bond (depending on the type of contractor) that a customer or supplier can use to make a claim against a contractor who didn’t finish a promised job, did the job improperly, or didn’t fully pay for supplies or labor.

“It takes a fair amount of work to find a good contractor, but it’s easier than trying to recover from a bad one,” said Reuel Paradis, L&I’s regional administrator for Central Washington.

L&I has an online contractor database of registered contractors where users can see whether there are any claims against the contractor or his or her bond: www.Contractors.LNI.wa.gov. On the site, there also is a checklist to follow when hiring a contractor to make repairs.

Doing homework upfront can protect homeowners against contractors who take the money and run, or do a poor job and won’t come back to fix the problem, L&I said.

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