Apache Junction Police Department offers tips for hiring contractors

Water from a storm closed 16th Avenue just west of Ironwood in a 2014 storm. Such storms can damage homes. (File photo)

With many homes suffering damage from the recent flooding and storms, residents may seek out contractors to repair these damages. Apache Junction Police Department would like to remind residents to thoroughly research the contractors before they hire them or any money is exchanged.

According to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, there are many “storm chasers” taking advantage of people’s good nature.

Below is a message from the ROC:

“ROC is taking strong enforcement action against clearly identified unlicensed contractors. The reason being is that these particular individuals flock to areas of catastrophes with the purpose of re-victimizing homeowners with both substandard work (do not have the skills to perform the work they are being asked to perform and often they are repeat offenders)  and/or taking money up front and then leaving the area with no work being done.

“These unlicensed contractors not only take advantage of the homeowners, they also take work from licensed contractors, who ensure quality work and pay taxes.  The additional impact is also to cities and counties, in that unlicensed contractors normally do not obtain required permits. This results in both lost revenues for the government entities and puts the public risk due to unsafe construction.”

AJPD would encourage any resident searching for a contractor to follow these 10 tips put out by the ROC:

  • Verify the contractor is licensed and has the correct license for your specific project by going to azroc.gov and using the contractor search to look up the business name, individual’s name or any license number provided. The contractor’s license should be current and in good standing on the day the contract is signed.
  • Confirm that the person providing the bid is an authorized representative of the licensed contractor by calling the contractor’s number listed on the ROC license.
  • Ensure you don’t pay too much for the project by getting three bids for licensed contractors.
  • Verify references of recent jobs from each bidder. These jobs should be for work similar to your planned project.
  • Obtain a list of all subcontractors that will be used on your project and make sure these contractors are also properly licensed.
  • Obtain and keep a written copy of all contracts, change orders, and receipts. State law (A.R.S. 32-1158) requires contracts for jobs costing more than $1,000 to provide specific information about the project (e.g. a description of the work, a completion date, deposit amount, progress payment schedule, total cost, and the consumer’s right to file a complaint with the ROC).
  • Make sure your contract includes a payment schedule based on work completed and don’t make payments ahead of this agreed-upon schedule. Don’t make the final payment until you are satisfied with the work and have received confirmation that all liens have been released.
  • Make sure the contract spells out who is responsible to pay for and obtain any required building permits.
  • Never pay in cash so that you have proof of payment should a dispute arise. Make checks payable to the licensed contractor (not an individual).
  • Confirm that all workers used are protected by workers’ compensation

If you have any questions, contact the AJPD community resource coordinator, at 480-474-5442 or cru@ajcity.net.

Editor’s note: Rob McDaniel is Apache Junction Police Department’s community resource coordinator.

 

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