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Jan. 10, 2007

Protect yourself from unqualified contractors

TUMWATER — In the wake of a fierce windstorm that left many Wenatchee-area homes damaged, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is alerting homeowners not to take shortcuts when hiring a contractor to make repairs.

Doing homework upfront can protect homeowners against contractors who take the money and run, or do a poor job and won’t come back to fix the problem.

“It takes a fair amount of work to find a good contractor, but it’s easier than trying to recover from a bad one,” said Reuel Paradis, L&I’s regional administrator for Central Washington.

Paradis steers homeowners to L&I’s easy-to-use online contractor database. At Contractors.LNI.wa.gov, you can find out whether your contractor is registered with L&I and whether that contractor has any current claims against his or her bond.

Contractors are required to:

  • Register with the state.
  • Carry a minimum of $250,000 of liability insurance.
  • Obtain a $6,000-$12,000 bond (depending on the type of contractor) that a customer or supplier can use to make a claim against a contractor who didn’t finish a promised job, did the job improperly, or didn’t fully pay for supplies or labor.

At Contractors.LNI.wa.gov, there’s also a checklist to follow when hiring a contractor to make repairs.

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, 360-902-6043 or nele235@LNI.wa.gov, or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.lni.wa.gov/News.

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