Do you have a contractor making repairs or improvements on your home? Ever watch HGTV’s Holmes on Holmes and worry about the job your contractor is doing? I do. and I think this: How do I keep my contractor honest? Well, here’s some information to help you out.
Dictionary.com defines a general contractor as a person who contracts for and assumes responsibility for completing a construction project and hires, supervises and pays all subcontractors. Once the contractor has taken a look at the job to be done, you should be provided an estimate or bid for the job. You can expect this bid to be either an overall fixed price to complete the job, or an arrangement where you will pay the cost of materials plus some agreed amount, commonly called a “cost-plus” bid. Either way, the estimate should include an itemized list of all the tasks that will be completed and the materials needed to complete those tasks.
Having a contractor is nice because you don’t have to worry about selecting all the trades and scheduling them to come in at the right time. If delays happen, contractors handle all the coordination. Having said that, there are some things to watch out for with contractors. We’ve recently had work done to our house, and here are some tips that can help make sure you get what you are paying for.
How Do I Keep My Contractor Honest?
- Communicate Clearly – From the beginning, state your desires and expectations. Have them reflected on the estimate.
- Read The Estimate – Make sure you are very familiar with the estimate and agree with all the items listed.
- Ask For a Schedule – Request a rough timeline of events. As dates slip, request revised versions. This minimizes surprises on cost overruns, etc.
- Refer To The Estimate – Watch for discrepancies between the work you see being done and the work described in the estimate. Mention it early.
- Meet Regularly – Hold either informal phone calls or formal meetings regularly to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
These steps can help ensure that you know what to expect and that you get what you pay for.