Need to Hire a Contractor for a Home Project? Here Are Some Tips

Dated: May 17 2022

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Image: Alexander Raths / Adobestock

Planning for a major home project that requires a professional contractor? Here are some precautionary steps to ensure that you find a trustworthy person who does high-quality work.

Get a Recommendation, but Do Some Research
The best source of recommendations is talking to people who have had similar jobs done. This can be as simple as asking friends and neighbors if they can recommend someone. Then search the names of the contractor and the company online. Check sites like the local Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Report for complaints. Most states also have a website that lets you check if a business is properly registered or if a person has a required license.

Ask for Several Bids
Be careful of bids that are a lot lower than the other bids; this is often a contractor who either plans to use substandard materials or lacks the experience to fully understand what the job involves. Look for red flags such as arriving late or appearing disorganized.

Get a Written Contract
The contract should state the scope of the job, the type of materials to be used, and the payment schedule, including an upfront deposit, interim payments for stages of work completed, and final payments. Take time to review the contract in detail, particularly for complex jobs.

Don't Pay Everything Upfront
Once the contract is signed, the main leverage that the customer has is the outstanding balance due to the contractor. A deposit before work begins is usual but should not be more than 10% to 20% of the total fee. More may be required for custom orders, as the contractor may have to pay for specially ordered materials.

Check Their Work
Make sure that the job is finished to your complete satisfaction before handing over the final payment. Once the contractor has all the money in hand, there is less incentive for them to return and fix things.

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Adele Tamburo

*Loyal* *Beach Lover* *Yankees Fan* *Music Lover* *Book Lover* As your Realtor it is my job to take away all your stress and worry throughout each step of the process while buying or selling a....

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