Hire the Right Contractor or Service Pro ( 2 0f 2)

Sort out the details before work begins:

1. Payment
If your project is large, you may pay 10 percent upon signing the contract, followed by three milestone payments of 25 percent over the duration of the project. The final 15 percent is often due upon completion of the project. Use the milestone payments as a time to review the project’s status and ensure your expectations and the contract standards are being met.

2. Time
If you’d like the work to be done during a particular window of time or have other requests, discuss them with the contractor beforehand.

3. Expectations
Understand what the contractor expects from you. For example, do you need to clear the room before work begins? Will you need to board your pet?

4. Get everything in writing
The contract should include a payment schedule, proof of insurance, start and completion dates and lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers, which is obtained by the contractor.
The contract should also include:
  • A detailed description of the project, explaining the materials to be used and what is being subcontracted. Keep in mind, the description will not cover any unexpected work uncovered during the renovation.
  • All building permits that will be obtained by the contractor and reassurance that the work will be compliant with current building codes.
  • A statement of warranties, including what is covered and for how long.
  • A statement of contractor’s liability and property damage insurance.
  • Price and terms of payment.
Beware of doing business with contractors who do the following:
  • Give you a quote before seeing the job.
  • Demand a large deposit upfront to purchase materials. Most contractors will have a charge account with suppliers.
  • Insist you sign a contract on the first visit. Once you’ve discussed the project with a contractor, they’ll likely come back with a plan or drawings and a written estimate of the project.

Questions to ask a general contractor:
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Have you worked on projects similar to mine?
  • Do you have a reference list that you can share with me?
  • Does your company carry insurance?
  • Are you bonded?
  • Who will supervise the project on-site?
  • Who will be my point of contact for job progress, changes or other issues?
  • What work will your employees do? What will you subcontract?
  • What efforts do you take to ensure the site is clean and safe for children and prevent dust and dirt from entering the living areas (if you’re remodelling)?