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Home Repairs

Tips for Hiring Contractors

  • File a claim with your insurance company. Ask your insurance company what documents, forms and data you will need to file a claim.
  • Know your contractor. A frequent problem after a disaster is the unscrupulous contractor who takes deposits before starting work or demands a final payment before finishing. Beware of repair businesses or individuals who solicit door-to-door, arrive in unmarked vehicles, have a post office box or temporary address, claim they are from another county or state and are in the area solely to help disaster victims, or offer to work for you only if you secure the necessary permits.
  • Check complaint history. Contact the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, Building Code Compliance Section, or the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to determine if the contractor or company has a complaint history.
  • Check the license. Make sure the contractor's address and license are up-to-date with the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Section and/or the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Check for insurance. Contractors should carry general liability insurance and workers' compensation.
  • Call references. Reputable contractors should be readily able to provide the names and contact information of satisfied customers. Work with contractors you know or local firms with roots in the community. You can also ask friends and family members who may have recently hired a home repair contractor or other professional.
  • Get at least three estimates. A reputable contractor or professional should not try to pressure you to obtain your business. Be certain that the estimates are itemized and that you are quoted for the same type of work and materials.
  • Obtain a written contract. Get all of the details in writing, including the scope of work, types and brand names of materials to be used, warranties, guarantees and final costs. Make sure any verbal commitments are written into the contract and that you obtain release of lien waivers from all suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Avoid paying large sums of money up front. A typical arrangement used by reputable contractors is one-third paid in advance, one-third paid halfway through the job and one-third paid upon completion of the job. Before making the final payment, make sure that all required inspections have taken place and that all permits have been closed.
  • Pay by check or credit card. Do not make checks payable to the name of an individual but rather to the name of the contracting company. Do not pay with cash because it can be difficult to obtain a refund if there is a dispute about the job.

Additional Resources

The County is ready to answer your questions at 305-375-3677 or consumer@miamidade.gov.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:39:02 PM
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