Pro Tips

PRO TIPS – GUIDE TO HIRING A CONTRACTOR

Photo Mar 25, 4 59 09 PM

 

A General Contractor manages all aspects of a project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, obtaining the relevant permits, and scheduling inspections.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK
 KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
 CONTRACT


 DO YOUR HOMEWORK

  • Ask Around
    We all know someone who has had home improvement work done. Friends, neighbors and co-workers are a great source for honest referrals.
  • Look Online
    Most reputable Contractors these days have a website where you can take a look at other work they have done.
    You can also check their reputation by searching the company name with key words like “scam” “complaint” or “rip-off”
  • Review Sites
    Look at sites you trust that post ratings reviews.
    Angie’s List and BBB are a good place to start.
    Information provided by other homeowner’s will help you make a more informed decision, reducing the risk of falling prey to unscrupulous operators.

Licensed/Insured
Get the full company name and address, then check the firm has a current state license and adequate insurance cover.


 

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Before speaking with a contractor, take the time to think about your goals for the project – how it will look, the amenities you want etc.
If you feel like you need more help envisioning an end result, consider using a design consultant. This can open you up to a whole new world of options and ideas you didn’t even know existed.
When you have a definite vision for the project you will have to reconcile this with the amount your willing to spend.
Which brings us to the BUDGET.
So you have gotten estimates from several contractors you like. You pick the one you feel fits you best, project commences and so on. However, often as a project is going on, Homeowners come to me as their General Contractor asking to make changes. For example, they found different tile they would like to use, or nicer light fixtures. This is usually not a problem. I give them alternatives to stay within the budget or tell them how much more it will cost as an “Extra”. Try to keep track of all the price changes. By the time the project is complete all these extras can really add up. At which point you are probably not within the original budget you started with. This is the home owner’s responsibility. Be aware that extra changes you make will effect the final cost.


 

CONTRACT

ALL CONTRACTORS MUST HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS HOME IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM FOR WORK ON A 1 – 4 FAMILY HOUSE.

• Make sure all proposed work, material and costs are provided on a written contract.
• Make sure any additional work or costs are added to the original contract
• The original contract must contain the following information:
Contractors Name
Contractors Address (no p.o box)
Contractors License Number
• Ensure the building permit is in the contractor’s name, NOT the name of the homeowner.

PAYMENT TIPS
• Payments should be made in installments. Usually 1/3 of the full amount agreed upon in the contract is issued as a “Start up” check to cover the cost of materials.

• Another 1/3 half way through

• Final payment should not be made till the job is completed to the property owner’s satisfaction.