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Friday, July 10, 2009

Hiring A Contractor

Hiring a contractor can be similar to acquiring a brother in-law,
except that when it comes to a contractor, you're the one who gets to do the choosing and not your little sister. This family aspect implies the fact that you'll probably be expecting quite a lot from your contractor, depending on the size of the project and you need to find out as to who'll do the job right.
In order to make a sound choice, there are several key questions you should pose to potential contractors and I will help you get those questions as follows.

* Know The Business History
When you're first getting into the process of hiring a contractor, you'll want to dig deep to get an idea of his or her business history. This means requesting and duly verifying proof that he or she is currently state licensed, paying employees legally and carrying worker's compensation, property damage and liability insurance. Membership with a reputable professional association is also a good sign.

Also find out if the contractor's ever declared bankruptcy or if anyone's ever taken legal action against him or her. You should also find out how their business is structured and where it's physically based.

* The Supervision Of Work
­It's important to ascertain during the course of the interview how the contractor plans on handling site supervision and subcontractors. For starters, a lot of the questions concerning licensing, payroll, liability insurance and workers' comp are inquiries you'll need to put to any subcontractors as well.Everyone on-site must be covered fully.

Further key questions center around work site presence. How much time does the contractor propose to spend on your project each week, and how many other jobs is he or she completing in tandem to yours? Does the contractor plan on doing any of the actual labor, or is he or she mainly performing in a supervisory role? How often will the contractor be on-site, and who'll be supervising during times when he or she isn't there?
During the project, you'll probably want to check in once in a while to see how every thing's coming along. A trustworthy and accountable presence should be on hand at all times.

* The Schedule For Project Completion
­Before you hire a contractor, you should ask them if he or she can provide you with a fixed start date and a completion date including any cleanup duties. These dates should be included in the formal written agreement, along with a timetable of the work that'll be done and a material list of everything that'll be needed. It's also smart to address how change orders will affect the project's time line in the contract.

* Make Sure You Have Everything You Want
Like the per payment lien releases we discussed on a previous page, warranties are a smart way to make sure you'll leave the table happy. In addition to these measures, it's a good general rule of thumb to hold off signing a contract until it includes everything you want and that you understand all the terms and conditions. You'll also want to keep up to date records of all payments and invoices in case a dispute needs to be settled.

On a similar note, make sure the contractor guarantees he or she will complete all the necessary homework and obtain all the required approvals during the process. Without this precaution, some contractors might might cheat you and you could find yourself uncovering a huge legal mess the minute the door closes behind them.

* Last, But Not The Least
­Along with the other top questions you want to ask during the process of hiring a contractor, you should also request itemized price estimates from each candidate. After you receive these, it's best to examine each one carefully, paying particular attention to any that seem too high as well as too low. Estimates that fall in the shallow end of the pool can be a red flag for a hasty job that won't leave you with a quality finished product. If an estimate seems a good deal pricier than others, that could mean the other contractors were missing some core obstacle involved in completing the project and therefore didn't set a high enough estimate for a proper job.

Don't sign that last check until you're completely happy with the completed project.

If you've made it this far and have gotten all your signs in a row, it's possible you've found the contractor for you.

1 comment:

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