Please read the following with an open mind:
There are good police officers. And there are bad police officers.
There are good doctors. And there are bad doctors.
And so on.
Ok, we contractors are screening prospective clients just as you mentioned screening contractors.
A good contractor will put most stuff in writing. However, keep in mind.....as you're asking for all this stuff in writing - you're also raising red flags. In other words, as you're saying "ok, put that in writing, and put this in writing", your contractor i saying "yes maam, no problem"......but he is also adding monies into the proposal. These monies are unofficially know as the 'PITA factor'. You can do the math as to what PITA means
I do feel your pain. Believe me. I feel it because I go to great strides to EDUCATE a prospective client. Many of them hear what I'm saying and they respect me for what I'm talking to them about. And.....many of them think I'm full of it and look at me as if I'm trying to sell them and old rusty worn out car for the price of a new one!
We have a speciality service we offer that is more along the lines of excavating services. Last week a prospective client sent me an e-mail with about 8 questions in regards to the work proposed. At the end of the e-mail he stated he wanted me to address his questions in the proposal. Well, one of his questions was a liability concern regarding a potential to property damage. He wanted me to write in the proposal that in the event a certain type of damage is inflicted - we could assume liability. OK, well we DO have liability insurance. But NO insurance claims are up to the policy holder as to whether or not the ins company will cover a claim. In the event something is damaged, we file a claim, and the insurance company takes it from there. As a business owner, there is no way I can promise anyone that all claims will be honored.
So, what I'm gettin at is - yes, watch your back. But at the same time tread lightly - as you will scare the living daylights out of a contractor. They'll still price your work....but they will PAD the heck out of the estimate, that $5,000.00 re-do will be marked up to a $7,000.00 re-do.
Again, the biggest thing is for you to make sure they are licensed in the state of MD. If you use an unlicensed contractor - the state of Maryland will not do anything for you. If you do use a licensed contractor and they do you wrong - the state of MD will back you 100%.
We do serve all of MD.
But "right away"
Ummm...do you want it done right or do you want it done right now?