Hiring Your Contractor

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

Finding an experienced professional remodeling contractor for your home improvement project doesn’t have to be an unpleasant task. Our step by step selection process provides an easy method for collecting the criteria that allow homeowners to make informed decisions that best suit their needs.

Employ a home improvement contractor with an established business in your area that will provide a list of past references in your community. Local remodelers are more compelled to perform quality work that satisfies their customers in order for their business to excel. If possible, visit the completed project and interview the homeowner. An experienced contractor will also aremodel025_fullsizellow clients to visit a site with work in process.

Know the basics of your project such as needs versus wants, timeline and budget. If you already have a vision, write your ideas down or sketch them out. If you’re still in search of inspiration we recommend attending local home shows, showrooms, remodeling magazines and online with Pinterest idea boards (yea…we’re savvy).

Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed and or bonded. Contact the Washington Department of Labor & Industries or Oregon Construction Contractors Board to ensure the contractor meets all requirements, including Workers Compensation Insurance in good standing. Ask the remodeling contractor for a current copy of applicable business licenses and certification of insurance to verify proper coverage for property damage and liability. Make sure the contractor’s insurance coverage meets all the minimum requirements.

If you solicit bids from several different home improvement contractors, be sure they are bidding on the same scope and quality of work. Discuss variations in bids and beware of any bid that is substantially lower than the others. Other aspects of the bids can include proper warranties, permitting, time frames and paying living wages.

If a contractor is unable to serve you immediately understand that as a good sign, especially if they are upfront with you regarding their backlog of work. A quality contractor will warn you before they bid your project as not to waste your time. If your project is under a tight agenda ask the backlogged contractor for their recommendation for another qualified contractor.


Lookout for these warning signs

  • Provides a credential or reference that can’t be
  • Offers a special price only if you sign today, or use other high-pressure sales techniques.
  • Only accepts cash, require large deposits or the entire costs up front, or asks you to make the payment in their name.
  • Does not provide a written contract or complete bid.
  • Asks YOU to get the building permit. In most instances, if you have hired a contractor, the contractor is required to take out the permits. Permits are your protection and help ensure that work will meet local building codes.
  • Offers exceptionally long warranties.
  • Wants to do most or all the work on weekends and after hours.
  • Gives you an offer that sounds “too good to be true.”

Other Resources

Consumer Affairs – Office of the Attorney General:

TDD users call 1-800-833-6384
Consumer Resource Center: 1-800-551-4636

Better Business Bureau:

206-431-2222 (western Washington)
509-455-4200 (eastern Washington)

Oregon Construction Contractors Board


Licensing: 503-378-4621
Email: ccb.info@state.or.us​​​​​
Fax: 503-373-2007​​

Washington Department of Labor & Industries:

Labor & Industries handles complaints on manufactured home defects, warranties and other homeowner issues.

Consumer complaints about manufactured homes: 1-800-647-0982

Report fraudulent contractors

Call: 1-888-811-5974

Pacific Northwest Comfort

Pacific Northwest Home Performance Clients

Pacific Northwest Home Performance Clients Janine and Lance

If there’s one thing absolute about living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s the undeniable beauty of our surroundings that keep us outdoors. Whether it’s a mountain sport, golfing, cheering on your youngsters soccer team, fishing for spring Chinook, or walking your lovable pets – being in the Northwest provides just about everything at our fingertips – except keeping us dry. On soppy days, nothing beats the thought of coming home for a warm shower and a cozy home.

“We’d been in our house for 10 years and were always freezing. My husband and I were really tired of being cold.”

RichArt customers Janine and Lance share a similar passion for the outdoors but were missing the comfort provided by a properly insulated home. Far from cozy, they decided to invest in a $95 home energy audit. Already experiencing high monthly energy bills, Janine felt as if there was nothing to lose. “We’d been in our house for 10 years and were always freezing. My husband and I were really tired of being cold. We’d thought about doing something before but never really connected the dots.”

The eager couple hired RichArt to perform a suite of prescribed measures that targeted insulation in the basement, outside walls, and bedroom; added batting to the attic hatch; and weatherized a side door. “The process was very educational and we learned a lot about our house in general,” said Janine.

uninsulated floor

A cantilevered addition to their home—where their bedroom is located—had no insulation, which made for especially cold nights.

So how do the improvements measure up? “The week after the energy upgrades were complete, we could feel the insulation. It felt like there was a cloak of warmth around the house even without turning the heat on. We could feel the energy shift within the house,” enthused Janine. Despite their estimated energy savings of 26%, Janine said that they feel 60% warmer than they did before RichArt performed the work. Lower energy bills have already comforted their pocketbooks. “Typically this time of year we are paying $300 per month – but this month it was only $189. We haven’t had the heaters on much thanks to the new insulation.”

Energy upgrades save on money and comfort – call the RichArt certified Home Performance team today to find out which rebates are available to you! 

 If you would like to share your RichArt story, you are encouraged to submit it by email. Short on time? Send us a note and we’ll contact you.

RichArt is Hiring

tabEntry-Level Weatherization Technician Apprentice | Seattle, WA

Richart Family Incorporated, a family-owned and operated residential energy services business, has an immediate opening for a Full Time Weatherization Technician Apprentice in its Seattle operations. As an entry-level position, prior industry knowledge is not required. The Weatherization Technician Apprentice will work on a crew with a Journeyman Weatherization Technician Foreman and fellow weatherization installers in RichArt’s Home Performance Department on residential retrofits related to energy efficiency. Applicants must have a reliable means of transportation and a High School Diploma or equivalent GED. Job experience and Spanish-speaking bilingual are a plus. The successful candidate will enjoy teamwork, be well-spoken, show enthusiasm for hard-work, and be excited about serving their community in the “green economy”. This person will have working experience with hand tools, insulation materials and equipment. Company vehicles are utilized. This is a position with benefits and Prevailing Wages.


Richart Family, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

To apply for this position, send a cover letter and resume to info@richartbuilders.com, or fax to 360-574-5859, or mail to:

Richart Family Inc., Attn: Human Resources, 14600 N.E. 20th Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98686

No phone calls please.

Washington State Supporters of Energy Efficiency

rick richart and governor insleeYesterday, one of our owners, Rick Richart attended the signing of SB 5802 (developing recommendations to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions) by Governor Inslee.  There are two partner bills, SHB 1017 (water conservation) and HB 1915 (developing recommendations to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions limits).  The Governor mentioned our company specifically in his speech supporting these bills.  These bills establish Washington State policy priorities and target goals for energy conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gasses as well as potential funding.

We enjoy these opportunities because it means we get Rick out of the office for at least a day and it reminds us of how vital our collaboration is with agencies throughout the state to promote energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote jobs.  We truly believe in our partnership with surrounding agencies in the effort to educate the public and provide quality services to customers.  It’s also a chance for us to “put our money where our mouth is” and expend resources to invest in our future.

Richart continues to be a voice that influences public policy and funding of programs in our communities.  If there is ever an opportunity for us to carry a message, please do not hesitate to let us know how we can assist you or your organization.

Find out more on SHB 1017 at: http://www.nwenergy.org/news/washingtons-hb-1017-equipment-efficiency-standards/

New Green Apprenticeship Begins

Weatherization Apprentices from left to right: George Palfi, Martin Olesen and Kenneth TopNot pictured: Casey Richart and Tony Armijo

Weatherization Apprentices from left to right: George Palfi, Martin Olesen and Kenneth Top
Not pictured: Casey Richart and Tony Armijo

On October 5th, 2011, Richart Family, Inc., registered the nation’s first eight Weatherization Technician Apprentices into its Residential Weatherization Technician Apprenticeship Training Program. This 4000 hour program was approved by the WSATC in April, 2011, and is the first of its kind in the country. It was designed to develop residential weatherization workers through apprenticeships to apply the latest in energy conservation technology into residential housing structures.

Following guidelines developed by the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, Richart Family has developed an apprenticeship training curriculum that combines the best practices of various residential construction trades into an assembly of knowledge, skills, and abilities to create a “House as a System” approach. This approach is based around the building sciences developed by the Building Performance Institute. This approach trains workers to test, modify, and verify that all elements of a home are cohesively working together for optimum energy conservation results.

Weatherization can include improvements to insulation, air leakage, air quality, appliances, lighting, heating systems, occupant safety, etc. By interfacing and adjusting all energy elements of a home to work efficiently together, Weatherization Technicians will be able to reduce a structure’s overall energy use, and not just a single element.

Richart Family, Inc. have been performing weatherization services for various private, utility, government, and CAP agencies across Washington and Oregon since 1984.

Insulation, Weatherization, or Home Performance? Who can do it?

December 17, 2012 Written by Mike Richart, Secretary, Richart Family, Inc.

As winterichart weatherization logor sets in, everyone is feeling the effects of the colder weather. Just like we dress warmer to go outside, you can improve your indoor comfort and save money by dressing your home for the changing weather. Not only will it give you more comfort inside your home, but it can save you plenty of money to help with those holiday bills. What should you do; insulate, weatherize, or hire a “Home Performance” contractor?

Readers should not be confused by statements that say “improving the energy efficiency of a structure is not a technical process. Just insulate, or install windows and you’ll be fine.” Follow the guidelines established by the US Department of Energy. “Weatherization”, or the latest terminology “Home Performance”, requires workers to have a comprehensive understanding of building science and construction methodology to make effective improvements to homes. Heating and cooling efforts combined with the climate and individual living conditions will affect your home and your comfort. Each home is unique and will likely require unique improvements. Each element of your home will affect the efficiency of all other elements. Like your automobile, work done partially or improperly can have little or even negative effects, while work done completely and correctly can dramatically increase the comfort, efficiency, and in some cases, resolve maintenance problems that could add decades to its life!

As the leading weatherization contractor in the region, Richart Family proudly serves all utility and government programs as well as private homeowners, landlords, and light commercial customers. We offer comprehensive energy conservation consulting, structure evaluations, and building improvement services that include insulation, space heating and cooling, electrical and lighting, and plumbing, all customized to fit each client’s needs. As the only weatherization company in the nation whose staff has graduated or is enrolled in a two year “weatherization technician apprenticeship training program”, each weatherization job foreman is led by a state certified journey level “Crew Leader” technician, a critical factor in achieving effective efficiency results.

Visit Richart Family, Inc. for details on the company and to learn more about the variety of services that we can offer.

Richart Family, Inc. is a locally owned, family run business who since 1984 has provided a variety of home improvement services to homeowners and small commercial customers throughout Washington and Oregon. Richart Family, Inc. specializes in energy related improvements that can be combined with full remodeling services.

US Department of Energy links to: www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/m/home_energy.html

weatherization technician links to: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/47-4099.03

Richart Family links to: www.richartbuilders.com

Crew Leader links to: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/retrofit_guidelines_overview.html