1. Ask for Written Estimates
Get written estimates from at least three contractors. Be cautious of estimates that are too high or too low. Ask what’s included so you are comparing the same info.
2. Hire Local, Recommended and/or Licensed and Insured Contractors
Local contractors are easy to reach. Licensed and insured contractors tend to be more experienced, professional and accountable.
3. Ask “have you done this before”
Does your contractor ‘specialize’ in the work you are asking about? Check any Better Business Bureau, Google or other Social Media Reviews. Be sure to read how the contractor handles complaints. You can’t please everyone, so how one handles complaints can speak more about how they work.
4. Think Before You Sign
No contractor should pressure you to sign with them. Any contractor who doesn’t give you time to get other bids, discuss or think before you move forward should be avoided.
5. Get it in Writing
Your estimate should give a good idea of the work to be done. It should include a detailed description of the work to be completed and the price of each item. Ask about the payment schedule (never pay the entire project at once), what’s NOT included and generally when the job will be started and completed.
6. Understand Cancellations
Federal law may require a “cooling off” period, in which you can cancel the contract without penalty. If you do cancel, consider sending the notice of cancellation by registered mail or email with a read receipt to ensure you have proof of the cancellation.
8. Anticipate Changes or Delays
Delays are never pleasant and often may not be the fault of your contractor. In spite of the timeline outlined in your contract, circumstances may hinder the ability to stay on schedule. Be realistic and adjust agreements as needed.
9. Be Clear About Communication
Agree on how you and the contractor will communicate. Email? Text? Phone? Cellphone? Make sure there won’t be misunderstandings because you like to text and your contractor doesn’t see texts while at work.
10. Keep a Dated Job Journal
Keep your agreement, color charts, planning notes, etc. in one folder. Keep copies of checks, change notes, permits and any pertinent information together.