Finance Friday: Tips for working with Contractors


Recently, we decided to get some work done on our home by going a cheaper route. I usually go through major companies but because  the work kept accumulating I tried to see how I could get it done in the most cost effective way. Unfortunately, after this experience I felt disappointed. So I want to share some tips that I  learned so that you can have a more pleasant experience.

Tips for working with Contractors on your home

1. Contract Binding. Always get everything that will be done in writing, even if the contractor is a friend or a friend of a friend. Contractors will often quote you one price initially and charge you another after the work is completed. Your home should be important to you so make sure a contract between you and the contractor spells out the agreement that you made with each other.

2. Be visible. Even though you may be in the house while the work is getting done, from time to time-to-time check in to see if they have any questions or check to see if they are doing the job the way you expected it to be done. Don’t micro-manage the person, but be very watchful.

3. Communicate. Come up with a plan prior to the person coming out modify it as needed after speaking with the worker, but you don’t want surprises so the moment a job goes out of the scope of what you anticipated speak with the contractor to see if extra costs are associated with it. Make sure there is a clear understanding of what will be done if the job takes longer than anticipated and what will be done if you don’t think the job was completed satisfactory.

4. Be educated. Research each job a bit so that you will know exactly how the finished product would look. I am young, and owning a home is a new experience for me, but I have learned so much from my experience that I am sharing it with you. The more you know and understand about the work people are doing for you, the less likely you will be taken advantage of.

5. Solicit a friend. If you have a friend that has more knowledge about the project you need done. Share your plan expectations with him or her. If they have time to be present when the project is being fulfilled, take them up on the offer to be present.

6. Take pictures. Word of mouth is not as convincing as real bonafide pictures. Take plenty to document the progress of the project throughout.

7. Get several quotes. Before you start a project, speak with several contractors to find out how much is reasonable and compare companies/people and prices.

8. Review/get references. You want to make sure that the person’s other customers were pleased. Their past work is a good indicator about what type of work he or she will do in the future.

9. Be friendly. Be cordial, but at all times remain professional because if you need this person in the future you don’t want to have any regrets. If you communicate well before hand, being friendly should not be a problem.

10. Only hire the insured. Always make sure the contractor is issued in your state. You don’t want to be sued if the person is hurt while doing the job so make sure they have enough insurance to cover any problems that may arise.

Overall, there are times when you get what you pay for, deals are out there but you must be well educated about the services you need done.

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