Things you should know before hiring a contractor

  • Get references in writing and contact them. It’s worth the follow up to be sure your contractor is reputable.

  • You should never pay for an estimate and get at least three in writing. If they differ greatly in price, pick between the two estimates that are comparable.

  • If it is too high or too low, there could be a problem with the estimate. If the estimate seems too high, the contractor might be too busy or may be disinterested in the job. If the estimate is too low, it could be that some details were overlooked.

  • When a contractor requests money up-front to start the job, that could spell trouble. If you pay a contractor before the job has been started, they might not come back.

  • It is okay to give a contractor money based on a draw system, but make sure that you only pay up to the equivalent of work that has been completed to your satisfaction.

  • Request that your contractor use only top quality materials and specify the name brands that you prefer.

  • If your contractor selects the products he might use inferior quality materials. After all, that betters his bottom line.

  • Walk through the project with the contractor upon completion. The favorable thing to do is make an itemized list of what you want taken care of. Hold payment until your punch list is completed to your satisfaction.

  • Make sure your contractor is fully insured with workman’s compensation and liability insurance. If he doesn’t have insurance and gets injured on your property, you could be liable. Ask who the insurance carrier is and get a copy of the certificate of insurance prior to beginning work.

  • Make sure you know where your contractor’s office is located. If the contractor gives you a post office box or gives you a mobile telephone number only, that could be trouble.

  • Make sure that your contractor is able to work when it is convenient for you as well as your neighbors if the work is conducive to disturbing them.

  • If you are planning a paint project, your prospective contractor can provide color tests for you. This should be included in the proposal.

  • Keep in mind that labor is 80% to 90% of the cost of painting. Always use the best paint products available