Many people in the United States and around the world need some help getting around. It has been estimated that there are about 53 Americans who have some kind of disability. The most common are ones that impact a person’s mobility. Accordingly, there are at least 6.8 million people across the nation use at least one device to help them get around. If you, or a loved one, uses such a device, like a wheelchair or scooter, you may have thought about having a medical ramp put in at your home. Here are some steps to make sure you get the right one for your situation.
Find a decent contractor.
While you may not be able to open the phone book and find listings for contractors who do handicap ramps or medical ramps, you do not have to hire a specialist. You need someone who knows how to build things in general. To find that person (or company).
- Talk to your friends, family and coworkers. You may not think you know anyone who has had this kind of work done at their home but you might be surprised. If you know anyone who owns their own home your probably know someone who has had renovations done or general work gone. Give the number of people who need help getting around, you may know people who have had their homes modified for members of their family. Ask the people in your life who they hired, how they found them and what they thought of the work they did. Asking if they liked or did not like them is not enough. The more details you can get, the better.
- Look at samples of their work. Like other work you may have done on your home, you want the medical ramp to be useful but you also want it to look good. If you are looking to replace your roof, would think the same thing. Take a look at the kind of work the contractors you are considering hiring have done.
- Talk to local organizations that help people with disabilities. There are governmental agencies at the state and local level that deal with implementing the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). They may be able to offer you a list of contractors in your area who can help you with your needs. Remember, you may need to do more than instal a medical ramp. You may also benefit from some other alterations around the home. You may also want to consider stair lifts for home staircases or other modifications to your home.
Questions to Ask Contractors Before You Hire One:
- Get a list of references. Whenever you have someone do work in your home, you need to make sure they are trustworthy. Talk to people who have hired them and see what they thought of the overall experience. See how close to the budget they were able to do the work and how long it took.
- Make sure they have the right insurance. If anything happens when the project at your home is being completed, you may be responsible if the contractor you hire does not have the right amount of insurance. You should ask but you should also verify what they tell you. Check on their certifications and what the requirements are in your area. There are many unscrupulous contractors who may not have the right to do the work they want to do on your home.
- Check into building codes in your city or town. In theory, the contractor you hire is responsible for making sure all of the rules, regulations and codes are followed when making changes to buildings. In practice, the homeowner will be held responsible if they are not followed. You will be responsible for any fines for any work that is not done correctly. It is in your best interest to know what they have to do.
- Get everything in writing. Before you hire anyone to install your medical ramp, get your budget and timeline in writing. Things still may come up to make the job cost more or take more time but you will be a lot better off if you can refer to something they give you in writing before the job starts..