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Contractor Caution: Steps to Hiring a Contractor

When it comes to our home, we all want the highest quality for our budget. One of biggest mistakes you can make when you are remodeling your home is to hire the wrong contractor. We all want to avoid that seemingly genuine guy that ends up squeezing every penny he can out of you before the project is done. It is easy to get tricked when you don't know what your contractor is talking about. Take the time to do some research to save you time and money on your project. 

When you're looking for a contractor you want to start by figuring out what kind of contractor you need. General contractors will oversee every aspect of a project. This may include; supervising workers, scheduling inspections and obtaining permits for your project. For larger scale renovations you may need an architect. For example, if you are making an addition to your home and need someone to layout the structure to match the style of your current home. Some other people you might hire are designers or specialty contractors for the more stylistic or personal touches.

After you decide what kind of contractor(s) you need for the job, you will want to do extensive research for a reliable and qualified company. A great place to start is by talking to friends, family and/or co-workers about any recommendations they may have. You can learn a lot from reviewing other peoples experiences, either by talking to them or going online. Another tell of a good contractor is if they are established, with a record you can easily find, and if they are licensed to do contracting work. 

Now it is time to meet with contractors to make your decision on who to hire. Some important questions to ask are:

  • How many similar projects have you done? 
  • Do you have a list of references I can have?
  • Will I need any permits for my project?
  • Do you carry insurance?
  • Will you be using any subcontractors?
  • What is the timeline for this project?
  • Who will be working on the project on a daily basis?
  • How will we communicate?
  • Are there any concerns you have about my project?

When you make a decision on who you want to work with it is important to create a solid payment plan and make a written contract.

For big projects you will want to plan ahead so you are confident with your finances. Along with this, there are often state laws that limit the amount of money a contractor can ask for the down payment, so it is good research the law in your area before you pay anything. Payments should also be contingent on completion of work. You should define what work must get done for the contractor to receive payment. Here is an example of what a payment schedule might look like. 

A contract for your project is very important. It is a written statement that includes the who, what, where, when, how and how much of your project. This will define exactly what each party is to expect for the duration of the renovation. For more information on what your contract should cover check out this list.

During your project, make sure you keep detailed records of all your interactions. You will want to keep a copy of your contract, any orders, and changes to orders, correspondences with home improvement professionals and an accurate record of all payments. These records could save you from problems that may happening during or after construction.

EuroAmerica is happy to help with your renovations. You can contact us anytime for a consultation.

For more information check out these references:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0242-hiring-contractor

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/14602570/list/10-things-to-ask-your-contractor-before-you-start-your-project