Whether you are looking to do some major building work at home or simply getting a few jobs done, hiring a contractor needn’t be the daunting experience that many people think it is. Sadly, there are many stories about rogue contractors that have left jobs half-finished or way over budget, but the truth is most contractors are extremely trustworthy and take great pride in their work. However, bearing some simple tips in mind when you set out on your latest project could help.
Do your homework.
Before you rush out and hire the first contractor you come across, start with a bit of research. It is fine to take recommendations from friends but don’t rely solely on word of mouth, make sure the contractor can do your exact job to your standards. Ask around, get at least three written quotes and request examples of work from your preferred contractors. If you really don’t know where to start ask your local building supply store or lumberyard for names.
Once you have decided on a contractor make sure you know exactly what you want from the job. Be specific about your expectations as your contractor won’t be able to do a great job if he’s unsure what it is you want. Don’t be rushed into any decisions though, think things through and be sure you have the budget and commitment in place. With the full project planned do check any regulations that may need to be covered or any paperwork you will need to have completed. A good contractor should be able to advise you on this, but don’t rely on it.
Get everything down on paper.
Before the project gets underway be sure to get a full written contract signed by your contractor covering expected labour and material costs, as well as an agreed upon time frame for work to be completed. It helps to make decisions in advance about the types of products you want to use and have an idea of how much they cost this way you can work together on the finished product knowing that you’re not being taken for a ride. From there you can work out a payment schedule that satisfies you both.
It all depends on the type of job you’re undertaking, but you shouldn’t be expected to pay before the project gets underway. Yes, there will be certain upfront payments for materials, but being asked to pay in full could be a bad sign. Likewise, as the project develops only pay for completed work or materials that are needed straightaway.
Always try to stay one step ahead of the work rather than just relying on your contractor as this will help you to feel in control of the project. Keep an eye on both the budget and the work that is being completed and refer to your contract if you need to. Being in the know will help you understand why any deviances from the project plan are needed. Changes can happen for many reasons; a change in the weather, unexpected materials being needed or simply more hands to complete work so be realistic. But remember, any changes should be amended on the contract too don’t just rely on a spoken agreement.
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