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Pick the right Contractor
April 29th, 2008

contractorRenovating or Building? The process can be enjoyable and educational or frustrating and disastrous! Arm yourself with these pointers to pick the right contractor…

Licenses and insurance
 
Make sure all your contractors are currently licensed! Actually look it over closely, faded or worn licenses are a hint they might be expired. Some industries may not have a licensing body, so make yourself aware in advance of what you are asking.  Licenses that are offered by the government tend to expire annually, so check out the expiry. This is a great way to find out who the proposed contractor really is, and if the licensing body has them in good standing. You need to know they carry valid insurance in case something happens while they are on your property. In a world where things don’t always go perfect, this is one step you should not take too lightly, and it’s your right to demand liability insurance from them.

References and Past Projects
 
A list of past projects and clients from your prospective contractor is very important, and you need to follow up with at least three of them to ensure the claims they are making are the results you desire. Find out how the contractor was in terms of budget, quality and promptness from the provided references. All of this insight may help you better address issues that concern you, and is a great indication of how things will go on your project. Visit past projects if possible and do your best to determine the quality of your contractors work by educating yourself on what to look for.

Policies, Procedures and Contracts…
 
Any reputable contractor will have a contract that spells out clearly what they will provide and what you the homeowner needs to do. A contract is an agreement between two parties, so this is where all expectations are stated, and surprises are eliminated. Good contracts make great friends, read them, understand them and keep your contractor committed to their end of the bargain!

Payment Terms
 
On some contracts that don’t spell out much, you may want to include some issues that could bring discomfort to the process, such as: acceptable start/finish work times to the home, the continuous cleaning of the work areas, and payment terms. Unless your purchasing custom-made or special order items made specifically for your house, the financial terms of your approved contractors contract should not exceed a twenty percent deposit. A great policy is to allow for a "Draw Only" as work is completed, ie: a project that takes three weeks, should have an initial deposit, then two draws and a final payment when work is completed.

A "Hold-Back" may be acceptable for a short period of time, and should be discussed in advance with your contractor. All payments should be made by credit card, debit card or cheque, NOT CASH! Always remember to get a receipt, just in case you find yourself in court. Credit card payments offer you the ability to rescind payment quickly in the event of a contractor failing to perform, along with the usual collection of air miles. Now your loaded with all the tools required for an enjoyable and educational renovation!

Contact YarrabeeTM for more information on making your home renovation project a success.

Photo/Getty Images 

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