Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Homeowners rely on word of mouth to find contractors

Homeowners still rely on word of mouth to find a contractor, and that’s a good thing, according to the Construction Contractors Board (CCB).

“Using a licensed contractor that has done quality work for friends, relatives or neighbors is the best way to ensure your project is a success,” said Stan Jessup, CCB enforcement manager.

The CCB, a state agency that licenses contractors, commissions an annual survey of Oregon homeowners, and 75 percent of the homeowners interviewed this year said they would use a referral from someone they know to find a contractor. Another 32 percent identified internet lists such as Angie’s List or Craigslist as places to find contractors.

“Getting ideas from online lists is OK, but you still must vet the contractor thoroughly,” Jessup said. “That means verifying that the person’s CCB license is active and that the name matches the person you might do business with.

“It also means you still need to check references,” he added. “Don’t rely on online reviews for all your information.”

Other survey findings:

n While 82 percent of Oregonians agree that it’s important to use licensed contractors, only 41 percent actually verify the license by contacting the CCB or using its website to look up a license. The easiest way to check a license is to obtain a CCB license number and enter it in the “search” feature at www.oregon.gov/ccb. Anyone who is advertising online must include his or her CCB number. If you have questions or need assistance, contact the CCB at 503-378-4621.

n A total of 67 percent of those surveyed know that it is illegal to use an unlicensed contractor to build a home or assist with a home improvement project. Homeowners can also report suspected unlicensed contractors on the CCB website.

n Most projects are a success — 86 percent of homeowners with recent projects said in the survey they were satisfied with the work. However, 9 percent were dissatisfied.

Licensing in Oregon carries important protections for homeowners. It means the contractor is bonded and insured, and the CCB may be able to mediate disputes.

“Taking the time to really check out contractors at the front end will help avoid problems in the long run, and finding quality contractors through people you trust is key,” Jessup said.

— The Review, Tidings