Officials warn residents to be careful when hiring contractors

Ville Platte Fire Chief Ted Demoruelle and Mayor Bill Jeanmard are warning residents to make sure their building contractors are reputable, licensed professionals.

Residents should ask their contractors if they have a city permit. The city is issuing permits to those contractors who have insurance. All contractors must secure a permit to do business here.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers some tips to try to eliminate less-than-reputable contractors.

•Be weary of door-to-door contractors. Always ask for references or check with the BBB to see if any complaints have been made.

•Be weary when the contractor states he has left-over material from a previous job. This is a common ploy of fly-by-night operators or handymen who are based out-of-state and use their pick-up trucks as their place of business.

•If the contractor asks you to get the required building permits, this could be a sign the contractor is attempting to avoid contact with the local agency that issues such permits.

•If the contractor doesn’t have a business phone number in the local directory, this can be a red flag.

•Don’t let them pressure you for an immediate decision. You will want to check references; look into the contractor’s standard of work and his professional designations and affiliations; verify his insurance; check to see if he needs a license (and if so, that it is valid); get written estimates from several firms based on identical project specifications, and, contact the Better Business Bureau and local consumer protection agency to see if they have information.

•If the contractor asks you to pay for the entire job up-front or demands only cash, this could be a reason for concern. Whatever the reason, never pay for the entire project up-front. Payments should be by credit card or check so that your credit card statement or cancelled check can provide proof of payment, if needed. Do not pay anything until after the first day of work, and then pay up to one-third. Make additional payments during the project contingent upon completion of a defined amount of work. Do not make the final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you are satisfied with the work and have proof the subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.

•And never let a contractor suggest borrowing from a particular lender or financing through your contractor.

Be careful. Make sure you have a reputable contractor.

Acadia Parish Today

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