your project carefully. Clip pictures, make sketches, write
a description. This will help you accurately convey to the
contractor what you want the finished product to be.
a list of contractors. Ask your neighbors or friends for
the names of reputable tradesmen. Contact material suppliers
-- lumberyards, for example -- and ask for recommendations.
at least three written bids for the project, but don't give
in to the temptation to automatically accept the lowest
bid. A higher bid may be worth the price in better materials,
workmanship and reliability. If you get a very low bid,
the contractor may have made a mistake or forgotten to bid
on everything you wanted. If they have deliberately low-bid,
they may use cheaper materials or take shortcuts to make
states and provinces require registration and/or licensing.
For the USA, www.nationalcontractors.com
provides a starting point for your state and type of construction.
Click on Verify Contractors License. If licenses are required
in your jurisdiction, be certain to ask to see your contractor's
licenses and be sure that it's not expired.
|"Get a signed, written contract and be sure you understand it..."
for references and then check them out. Look at the projects
and ask the previous clients if they are satisfied with
the quality of work done, if it was started and completed
on schedule and if it is complete.
a signed, written contract and be sure you understand it.
The Construction Contractors Board of Oregon claims that
the single biggest cause of homeowner-contractor disputes
is the written contract: not having one, having a poor one,
or having one everyone ignores. A good contract should include:
company name, address (not a post office box) & phone
number, the name of the builder, contractor and license
number, if applicable
detailed project description
statement that all necessary permits and inspections
are the responsibility of the contractor
and completion dates
of workmanship, the length of the warranty, and specifically
what's covered and what's not
guarantee that he carries liability insurance and worker's
statement that clean-up will be done by the contractor
total price and payment schedule
wary of hourly, time and materials or cost-plus
pricing where the final price is not determined
until completion of the project. Although it may
seem higher, a fixed price may give you the best
protection and price.
cautious about upfront payments for more than 15%
of the contract price.
schedule and criteria for each installment should
be clearly defined in the contract.
installments should be not be required on a certain
date, but correlated to work completion.
not pay cash. A reputable builder will ask for a
any changes to the project in writing with a "work order
change" to avoid misunderstandings and surprises.
pets and children away from the construction site. This
will ensure not only their safety, but also that of the
workers. In addition, it helps keep the project on schedule.
the work regularly.
directly and promptly according to the contract.
you should feel comfortable communicating with your contractor.
If you sense he is being evasive when you are getting a quote,
it won't get any better during the construction period. Find
someone you understand and who understands you, and who is open
Working with a contractor takes a little preparation, but following
these steps is well worth it.