Experts Offer Advice For Hiring A Contractor

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Home And Garden Show kicked off Friday, offering hundreds of new exhibits and ideas for home improvement.

Whether it’s building a shed in your backyard or installing that new upgrade in your home, it is critical that you are comfortable with the person or company doing the work.

“That [comfort] comes with some due diligence. You have to do your homework when you’re hiring a contractor,” Better Business Bureau Executive Director Warren King said.

Under the sweeping roof of the convention center, contractors of every description have gathered to get your business.

“Looking to do something with my house for the bathroom and the kitchen,” Sue Stark said.

Charles Trexler is searching for a decorative wood contractor.

“They are all here, you know, ’cause they’re competitors and they’re just trying to do what they gotta do,” he said.

WATCH: John Shumway offers a look around the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show —


But King says the BBB says go into your Home Show-inspired home improvement adventure with your eyes wide open.

“We have reports on over 300 of those companies. Almost 9 percent of them have a failing grade at the BBB. Typically, a failing grade would be [from] unanswered complaints or a high volume of complaints,” King said.

The Home and Garden Show’s John DeSantis was surprised by the BBB’s numbers because he says they check out every vendor and they look into the complaints.

“If we feel that there is something that’s a reasonable issue, and sometimes there are reasonable issues, if there’s a reasonable issue, we’ll give the contractor the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

If not, they are out or never get in in the first place.

King says the BBB recommends you ask a lot of questions; make sure they are registered to do residential home construction work, have insurance, and ask for references.

“You want to make sure that the people who are going to be doing this work on your home are the kind of people you want to be doing that work and people you believe you can trust,” DeSantis said.

King says get a work timetable in writing, including when payments are due, and never make a final payment until the work is done.