Voice of the consumer: Do your homework before hiring a contractor

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:43 AM MDT
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11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

It is summertime and that means plenty of thunderstorms to come with it. Unfortunately, some homeowners are stuck cleaning up damage from some of the recent storms we’ve had, and I want to remind you to do your homework before you hire a contractor to fix anything on your home.

The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department is sharing some things to watch for so you don’t fall for a scam. My fellow 11 Call for Action Reporter, Jenna Middaugh, talked with the department this week.

“One of the first things that they should look for is actually checking with their insurance provider to make sure that they know exactly what is going to be covered, if there is damage,” said Greg Dingrando, the public information officer for Pikes Peak Regional Building. “So, once you've kind of done that and have an idea of what is going to be covered, then you can start looking for those contractors.”

Before you hire a contractor, make sure to research the company, check reviews online and ask friends and family for recommendations. Then check the department’s website at

“The best way to research contractors here in the Pikes Peak region is through our website, and the reason I say that is because all contractors that do work that needs to be permitted, they have to be licensed through us,” said Dingrando. “If they're not licensed, they cannot pull a permit and that means our inspectors aren't going to be coming out to look over their work to make sure that it's being done correctly to code and make sure that it's being done safely.”

Keep your guard up and watch for scams.

“There could be some contractors that are legitimate and do go door-to-door, but there’s also the people that come in, give the fly-by-night, they have a lot of different names, that come in specifically for homeowners, you really want to be careful with them,” said Dingrando. “Make sure you get a business card if they are coming door-to-door, and our website is updated multiple times throughout the day, so whenever you go check, it’s actually done live.”

As a reminder, like I’ve told you before, it’s a red flag when contractors ask you to pull a permit yourself.

“It's not any cheaper for the homeowner to pull the permit for that contract, they might tell you that, but that's not the case at all,” said Dingrando. “You want to make sure that the contractor is pulling that permit. You want the responsibility on them.”

Before the work begins, make sure you have a contract in place that details what will be done and how much it will cost. Make sure to read it over carefully before signing the agreement. For more information, you can call the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department at 719-327-2880.

Also, I wanted to let you know that the Justice Center will now be holding free legal clinics every Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. The executive director tells me they have been getting double the calls prior to the pandemic, so they want to offer more clinics to help out. You can call 719-473-6212 to get confidential, brief legal advice from local attorneys.

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