Home repairs, whether minor or major, often require assistance of a general contractor, and as the homeowner, you have the responsibility to hire a dependable, bonded and insured contractor. While most general contractors are all three, not all fit this mold, so you must be careful when hiring someone to make repairs to your home or appliances. With a few tips, you can find the best contractor for the job and avoid common scams.
Know The Details
Most people know the basics of hiring a general contractor, like you don't always go with the lowest bidder, but maybe they don't know why. The reason is that the contractor with the lowest bid may be using inferior materials, using subcontractors or taking cost-cutting shortcuts that sacrifice quality. So, lower estimates aren't always best.
To avoid poor quality of work, get all the details of the work done in writing. This includes the materials used, names of any subcontractors, and project start and completion dates. Keep in mind that if the job is estimated to cost more than $500 to complete, a general contractor is legally required to put it in writing.
There are other tips you can use to help the job go smoothly.
- Check to see if your state places caps on the percentage of the total price a contractor can require up front. Usually, a down payment of 10 to 30 percent is reasonable.
- Never pay for the materials and supplies upfront. Have the contractor buy them and give you the receipts to go over. If you find no discrepancies, you can reimburse the contractor.
- Ask for liens and waivers from each subcontractor the general contractor uses. This protects you; you cannot be forced to pay them if the contractor does not.
- Understand the Truth in Lending Act, which gives you the three business days to cancel any contract you sign in your home that gives the contractor any financial claim to your home.
Know The Scams
There are fly-by-night contractors out there scamming honest, hardworking homeowners like you. If you know the common tricks they use, you can avoid being one of their unsuspecting victims.
- Fraudulent contractors come to your door asking if you need work done
- Shady contractors often drive unmarked vans or trucks
- They act like salesman offering you a great deal that you can't turn down
- Untrustworthy contractors won't give you a written estimate, or promise you one you never get
- Their address is often a post office address and their phone an answering service
It is important to know that there are a variety of trustworthy general contractors out there who will gladly follow the rules and provide quality work. You just need to follow these tips to protect yourself from the few who want to take advantage of you in your time of need.
If you need contracting work done, contact a professional such as Gibson Construction Of Nevada Inc.