The home repair remodeling industry is fraught with pitfalls and minefields. The following are the five most important aspects to be aware of if you want to save yourself time, money and pulling your hair out.
1. The industry is truly “the wild west”. Many contractors have no education, background or experience in the job they will sell you. Be aware they will all sweet talk you or use commission sales people whose sole purpose is to sign you up and then disappear. While it pains me to say this believe NOTHING a contractor tells you about anything. This is sad but true. If you learn nothing from me that alone is worth all the money in the world.
2. Only use licensed and insured contractors. As part of the wild west so many of these fly by night guys will use hit and run, grabbing a deposit or doing a little bit of work never to be heard from again. There are many local agencies that license construction contractors and your first step should be to verify their license as it provides a great level of protection. Additionally never work with a contractor who does not provide adequate insurance coverage. This too provides a comfort level as to the legitimacy of their business and if things go wrong you have the protection of their insurance company. Any contractor who tells you licensing isn’t important or they don’t need insurance should be avoided like the plague and is only a ”shyster.”
3. All work should only be done by a formal contract. In too many instances work is done on a handshake and this is a disservice to you as the homeowner and to the contractor as well. While everybody likes to get work started immediately it’s wrong. The contract should list in detail specifications as to the scope of the work and the materials used. Believe me this will save so much aggravation and fighting as the mystery of what’s supposed to be done is now formally clarified in writing.
4.The contract must spell out in detail the time frame for payments to the contractor. I am also opposed to giving deposits before work is started. At the end of the first day of the job, payment is appropriate prior to that it should never be given. I have seen too many instances where this is not addressed upfront and the fighting over money starts immediately. The contractor must have strict deadlines in which to earn his payment. Doling out money, simply needing funds always turns out to be a nightmare.
5.The contract must have both starting time and completion of all work in writing. These deadlines must be strictly adhered to. It is a standard of the industry.
a. Sign up the homeowner
b. Get their money
c. Start job
d. Disappear as fast as they can because the contractor has signed up additional customers at the same time. Once he starts you’re stuck and can’t go anywhere.
I’m Terry, the Kabinet CPA with decades of experience of working knowledge of both residential and commercial construction. kabinet.com is the official app to make your home more valuable, easier to maintain and to provide you with invaluable information such as above. Always remember to use your Kabinet.