Hire a Contractor

Whether you're hiring a contractor for a repair or an improvement, here are some standard guidelines to apply for your protection.
Article Type: 
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Here's How:

  1. Plan carefully. Accuracy enables contractors to correctly determine the scope of the work and costs.
  2. What should I ask?
    1. How busy is the contractor and how does he intend to supervise your house?
    2. Will he do it himself, or rely on a superintendent? How many jobs does each person run?
    3. What type of contract does he usually use: cost plus, lump sum, etc.?
    4. Most contractors have some standard building products and methods they insist on. What are his, if any?
    5. What type of warranty does the contrcator offer?
  3. Hire only licensed contractors where the skill is licensed by your locality. Ask about his license and insurance and that he provide you copies of them. Check the contractor's license number by calling your local licensing board.
  4. Get three references and review past work.
    1. Did he finish on time and budget or within reason?
    2. Was he reasonable to work with?
    3. How often did he have job meetings?
    4. Did he keep a clean and safe job site?
    5. Why should you choose him over his competitors?
    6. Look at samples of work and ask about budget ranges for certain types of projects.
  5. Get at least three bids.
  6. Get a written contract. Make sure that you completely understand terms & conditions before you sign anything.
  7. Only when required, pay 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less.
  8. Keep track of payments. Don't let payments get ahead of work performed.
  9. Don't make final payment unless you're satisfied with the work done.
  10. Do not pay cash. Pay by check, directly to the contractor, not employees.
  11. Keep a file of all papers relating to the project.
  12. Know your warranty.