Jim Adler Carpentry

Jim L. Adler Carpentry
Contractor and Custom Home Builder

Tips for Finding the Right Builder

So many people hire the wrong contractor. According to the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators (NACAA) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Home Contractors garner the second highest number of consumer complaints. Dealings with contractors have been a sore spot for many consumers, whether because of a failure to use a written contract, abandonment or refusal to complete work, poor workmanship and non compliance with building code requirements.

Unfortunately, Maine does NOT require contractors to be licensed (we wish they did) like they do electrician, plumbers, and architects. Below are a few tips to help you find the right builder and avoid the headaches, hassles, lost time and money on your home project.

Your Builders Checklist: What to look for in a Contractor

You need to ask around with realtors, lenders, building supply stores, and/or building code enforcement officers. These are people in the know with lots of experience with contractors – good and bad.

Tip One:
Code Enforcement Officers tend to be “PC” but if you ask the question, the right way… “have you inspected much of this contractors work?” and/or “have you had any issues?” you may get some answers that can help guide you.

Tip Two:
Ask at the local Building Supply store if your potential builder is in good standing and has a good line of credit. They may not be able to divulge this but it does not hurt to ask.

Here in Maine, you can find out if a particular contractor has been the subject of a consumer complaint by contacting the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-436-2131 or at [email protected] . WE STRONLY URGE YOU TO DO THIS!

Ask for referrals from recently completed jobs. Even better ask to see the homes and meet the owners. Keep in mind that references do not always give a true picture as they can be biased, so the more people you talk to - the better.

Ask your potential contractor if they have done similar work to your job. Have they done other work in the same scope and size of the project you are looking for? Ask to see the contractor’s completed work.

Be sure the contractor is properly insured! Some contractors will say they are fully insured when in fact all they have is liability insurance. They need to show PROOF of general liability insurance and workers compensation if they have employees, this is often over looked but is extremely important.

You can face huge bills if a worker is injured on the job and chooses to sue, especially if the contractor is not insured or his/her insurance is not up to date. If the Contractor has filed for bankruptcy or has financial problems, then your project may encounter liens or problems. If the Contractor has a criminal record then your safety and your finances may be at stake.

Owning all the right tools to do your job right is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars and require a large trailer and/or truck(s). Does your builder have these supplies? They should. You can see by our pictures - we do!

All work to be done should be in writing - describing the work, the timeline, and the payment schedule making sure everyone understands the job start to finish.

Maine law requires a written contract for all home construction and home improvement projects over $3,000, with a specific provision that prohibits payment up front of more than one third of the contract price. When a contractor asks you for any money up front, make sure that the money is being used to purchase materials for your project. Ask for receipts and for a Lien Waiver from subcontractors.

Jim Adler and his crew really helped make our dream home a reality. Jim is a talented, honest and hard-working builder. As a contractor he communicated with us every step of the way so that our ideas were delivered down to the last details. We are extremely pleased with the carpentry work that Jim Adler did. He is a soup to nuts contractor. Jim installed beautiful hardwoods floors, created shelving and custom entertainment centers, installed cabinets and log trimmed vanities, and his masonry on our fireplaces, around the Jacuzzi and on the exterior of the house are top-notch.


Heather & Greg

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