Hiring a Contractor 101: Helpful Hints and Tips

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Home Improvement

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If you have never hired a contractor before, and don't want to be featured on a Call 6 Investigation, read on.



Hiring a Contractor 101: Tips and Tricks

♦ "Word of Mouth" is the best form of advertising. Check with friends, neighbors, trade associations, and home improvement stores for referrals. 

♦ If a bid is substantially lower than others, ask why. Will the contractor use inferior products, or are they too inexperienced to make an accurate estimate?

♦ Are estimates based on a fixed price or a “cost-plus” bid? In a fixed price bid, changes during construction are re-negotiated. In a cost-plus bid, the contractor does the job, then submits receipts along with an invoice for labor.

♦ Think carefully about hiring someone who has “just completed work in your area” and offers bargain prices.

♦ Hire someone who gives a written estimate, contract, contractor’s number, and local references.

♦ Arrange to make payments upon completion of defined amounts of work.

♦ Include written warranties. Note the name and address of the party responsible for honoring the warranty, as well as the warranty’s time period.

♦ Specify who is responsible for obtaining and paying for permits, and insist that local construction codes are followed.

♦ Every contract should include the following: 1) A detailed description of the work and the materials to be used; 2) the total cost of the work and a payment schedule (if necessary); 3) additional promises made by the salesperson/contractor; 4) start and completion dates, warranty information; 5) cleanup information; and 6) the signature of you and your contractor.

A few important notes:

Listen, most contractors are hard-working, honest and trustworthy. However, there are a few untrustworthy ones out and about. Educate yourself on common scams and don't hire anyone on the spot. If you've been duped into signing a contract, call the police and make a report to your Attorney General

◊ Make sure you are satisfied before making final payment.

◊ As long as you have your money in hand, you call the shots.

◊ Still, be aware that some states allow subcontractors and suppliers to file a lien against your home if you hold payment unnecessarily.

Good luck! 



Miriam Odegard, Real Estate Broker

United Real Estate Indianapolis

1425 East 82nd Street, Suite 200

Indianapolis, IN 46240

text/mobile:  (317) 220-5397

email:  miriam@miriamodegardhomes.com

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