Unlicensed Contractors are a Horror Story

By | Articles | No Comments

5 Facts You Should Know About Unlicensed Home Improvement Contractors

Hiring the right contractor to replace your roof or take care of any other major renovations to your home is a big decision. There are a lot of factors to consider beyond price. Chances are, you’ll always find someone who will do the work for less money, but what will it cost you in the end? Inferior craftsmanship, low quality customer service or worse…

homework

  • It’s Illegal! In the State of Maryland, home improvement contractors, subcontractors and sales people must have an MHIC license. Chances are if they don’t have one, they don’t have insurance either!
  • Unlicensed contractors will drive a vehicle without a posted MHIC number or may use a fake number. Visit DLLR online to verify a contractor’s number.
  • An MHIC license can be revoked because of poor workmanship, failure to complete jobs, criminal activity or other violations. Some contractors may attempt to use an expired or revoked license, be sure to verify with the MHIC.
  • Elderly homeowners are especially vulnerable to unlicensed contractors. They love to pull “bait and switch” scams, quoting a low price and then demanding more money later.
  • Often times unlicensed contractors are from out of state, making it difficult to recover money or stolen items.

Homeowners Need to Do Their Homework!

Before you hire a home improvement contractor, do your homework. Here are some easy steps you can take to make sure you won’t be the next unlicensed contractor horror story:

  • Ask to see every contractor’s MHIC license and then check to make sure it is current. Check online or call DLLR at 888-218-5925.
  • Ask to have a contractor’s current General Liability AND Workman’s Compensation insurance certificate sent to you. (Did you know that if you hire an uninsured contractor and they get hurt on your property YOU are on the hook for their medical expenses??!! If they damage your property there is no insurance to fix it)
  • Look at the contractor’s rating with the BBB.
  • Read online reviews and ask for local references. Follow up to find out if the work was on time, on budget and whether or not they would hire the contractor again. Read Fichtner Services Reviews on Facebook, Google, Angie’s List and Yellowpages.com.
  • How long has the contractor been in business? Are they going to be around in 5 years in case something goes wrong?
  • Always get a contract in writing.

Whether you need a new roof, new siding, replacement windows or more, Fichtner Services is there for you. We are proud to be named “Best Roofing” company in Annapolis by the readers of The Capital for the fifth year in a row. We take pride in our reputation and the fact that 75% of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.

Happy Halloween

By | Articles | No Comments

Does your attic have a tale to tell? You bet! While you may not be keen to search for ghosts and spiders, inspecting your attic at least annually is a great idea for any homeowner.

scary-attic

Here is a checklist of scary items look for:

VENTS:

  1. Are there any blocked vents?
  2. Do your bathroom exhaust vents terminate on the inside?

LEAKS:

  1. Do you see water stains around openings or skylights?
  2. Do you see water damage around the chimney?
  3. Do you see daylight around plumbing pipes?

PESTS:

  1. Is there evidence of any creatures living in your attic?
  2. Can you see daylight through holes in the trim or soffit areas?

DAMAGE:

  1. Do you see any rotted wood?
  2. Does the plywood or plankboard sheathing look moldy or black?
  3. Is any of the framing cracked or damaged?

INSULATION:

  1. Do you have less than the recommended R-Value insulation for the area in which you live?
  2. Is there insulation covering your soffit vents?

If after inspecting your attic, you have answered YES to any of these questions, you could potentially have a problem. Most of these issues are fairly easy to fix and won’t break the bank, but if left uncorrected could lead to a major problem. Give us a call if you have something spooky in your attic!

It’s All in the Details!

By | Articles | No Comments

When decorating a home, many people think only of the inside. But the exterior is even more important when it comes to curb appeal. You can make a big difference by incorporating a few architectural details. Whether it’s adding a new window or shutters, building a new front porch, or installing dormers to break up a roof line, these kinds of details can really make all the difference in the charm and style of a house.

Here are a few examples of work done by Fichtner Services:

oct-before-after4

This house in Annapolis got a new front porch with metal roof, shingle roof, gutters and fresh coat of paint on the cedar siding.

arnold-before-and-after-2

This Arnold home doesn’t even look like the same house! A new front porch, James Hardie siding, roof, gutters, front and garage doors, shutter removal, window trim and headers gave this home a completely new look!

oct-before-after1

This home in Harwood looks amazing with it’s brand new front portico and roof. New bright white gutters completed the transformation. The homeowners are in the process of replacing the shutters. It will look fantastic when finished!

crofton-before-and-after-2

A window was added, shutters replaced and the front door painted of this colonial in Crofton to give it a nice fresh look.