Consumer Protection   Oregon Scam Alert Network   BeInfORmed

Construction & Hiring a Contractor

homeownership & real estate

Protect the value of your home by making sure any contractor you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured as required by Oregon law. Research and review construction contractors online with the Construction Contractors Board, or call (503) 378-4621. Research and review landscape contractors online with the Landscape Contractors Board, or call (503) 378-5909.

Do your research. Before hiring a contractor, ask your friends or family for recommendations. Get written bids from three or more contractors, and do a close comparison of what work is included and what materials will be used. Remember, the lowest bid is not always the best bid.

You can also search Be Informed, DOJ’s online tool, to find out whether other consumers expressed concern about a particular contractor. Many customers also share their experiences with local businesses, both good and bad, by posting consumer reviews online.

Get it in writing. After selecting a contractor, insist on a written agreement that clearly states the work to be done, when the work will be done, and the cost. The contract should limit the amount of money paid upfront, and require your satisfaction before making the final payment. On a long project, you may wish to specify that payments will be made along the way as certain work is completed.

Door-to-door home repair. Perhaps they "just happen to be in your neighborhood with leftover supplies from a nearby job" or "can see from the street that you need a new roof." Typically these offers turn out to be little more than scams that result in substandard work by unlicensed contractors - leaving consumer with little recourse when they are unhappy. Do not do business with people offering contractor services door-to-door.

If you experience a problem you cannot resolve with your contractor, file a complaint with the Construction Contractors Board or contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or complete an online Consumer Complaint Form anytime.

Smart Consumer Tip: Not all home improvement projects payoff equally. While some projects can be a good investment because a significant portion of its cost is recouped by increasing your home’s value, other renovations may not pay off as well as you might expect, or as well as some contractors may claim. Before you begin a project, research what the experts have to say about the cost vs. value of common home improvement projects. In addition, tax credits are sometimes available for home improvements, such as for the installation of energy efficient heating and cooling systems. However, these tax programs often have strict eligibility requirements and guidelines, so consult a tax professional before making any home improvement investment based upon a government incentive promised by a contractor.

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