In Oregon, contractors are govenernd by the Contractor’s Construction Board (CCB). From their website, you can check the license status of the contractor. Most importlantly, you want to know that the people you are hiring have an active license. This means that their dues, insurance and bond are current.
A contractor’s license has an employer status of either expempt or non-exepmt. Exempt contractors may not have employees since they do not carry worker’s compensation insurance. When an expempt contractor shows up on your job with others, what do you do? The contractor is violating the terms of his license but he is also putting you at risk. If someone was injured on your job, you could be found liable.
I have seen it before and it happenned on our job last week. The job we had hired to be done by an exepmt licensed contractor was simply bigger than he could handle on his own (though he never mentioned that when the job was bid). He was a couple of hours late so I had left the site by the time (and his unknown crew) arrived and started the job. Then end result is just what we paid for. The process was not. I’ve got some of my tools over there and we had water in the fridge. I would have had no problem with either being used but it was not until after they had all left that I discovered some of my tools lying around, all the water gone from the fridge and I never did find two pairs of new work gloves. There was an utter failure for the contractor to manage his employees. He brought six people into my house that he had met 15 minutes before. I let it go at the time since they were knee deep in a project that was going to be even a bigger mess if I called them off the job. Wise? Probably not. In retrospect, I could have put my foot down and there are legal implications for the contractor. And I should have.
Know before you hire a contractor that they are licensed and bonded so that you are protected. Contractors also have to give you a state disclosure form “at first contact.” Out of the 15 bids we have gotten, we have received 3. Not a very good ratio. If you don’t get one, ask for it. It has good information from the Construction Contractor’s Board.