Hiring a Contractor Tips

by Donald Griddle

Hiring a Contractor Tips;The skills portion of this book shows you what's involved in working with various materials, demonstrating all the basic techniques and some advanced ones. It can also help you assess what's involved in any projects you may plan and determine your role in them. If, after gathering information and assessing the job's complexity, you decide to undertake a large project that involves work you don't feel comfortable doing, consider hiring a contractor to do part or all of the job.

For example, for the patio project shown on the facing page. you might serve as general contractor and do some of the work yourself, but hire a la-borer to excavate the soil, an electrician to install the out-door lighting, and a plumber to put in the garden sprinkling system. To find a contractor, compile a list of names by talking to your friends and relatives who have had similar work done, looking in the Yellow Pages of your phone book, and calling local building and construction organizations. Contact several of the listed contractors who do the type of work you need, asking for references from customers who have used their services recently for a project similar to yours. Call the references and ask to look at the work. Narrow your list to contractors with good references. Check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints against them, and make sure they have the appropriate licenses.More hiring a contractor tips.

Finally, ask two or three of the contractors to bid on the work, furnishing them with drawings and specific information on the materials you want. (Most contractors provide their own materials be-cause part of their profit is derived from the discount they receive from suppliers.) When the bids are in. study them carefully and choose the contractor you think is best for the job.

But remember, the lowest bid is not always the best. Contractors may cut corners to bring down the price. For your protection, get everything in writing. The con-tract should include start-up and completion dates, a detailed account of the work to be done, the types of materials to be used (including the brand names. if important), how and when trash disposal will be handled, procedures for making changes in the original plans, warranties, and termination conditions.

Be sure to include the full cost of the project and a schedule of payments. Never pay everything up front; it's common to make a down payment of no more than one-third the total cost, several payments as the work progresses, and a final payment when everything is completed and you have approved the work. Your contract should also include a lien waiver clause, requiring the contractor to show proof that suppliers and subcontractors have
been paid so that you cannot be sued for nonpayment of bills. It is also a good idea to have the contractor obtain needed permits and take full responsibility for following the local codes. Demand certificates of damage and liability insurance from all con-tractors and subcontractors.

More Hiring a Contractor Tips

Once the work begins, keep close tabs on its progress and quickly bring any problems to the attention of the contractor—not his workers. If you want to make a change in the plans, ask how it will affect the total cost of the project and get it all in writing. Sometimes making a small change necessitates expensive changes else-where. For example, to add a lighting fixture an electrician may have to run an extra circuit at great expense, but he might not tell you until he presents the bill at the end. When the job is finished. examine it carefully before making the final payment. Never pay for work that has not been done. Thanks for reading this page on Hiring a Contractor Tips

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