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15 things a contractor may not tell you...
Despite lengthy sales pitches and promises there are some things your contractor would rather not talk about. Before you begin any kind of home improvement or repair, you need to know what the contractor is leaving out of the conversation.
15. You will get a more favorable contract if you compare bids. Contractors are much more flexible about terms and prices when competing for your business.
14. The contractor may need multiple licenses. Having a valid contractor's license does not mean he or she can legally perform all contracting work. Jobs like plumbing, electrical, or asbestos removal often require a special contractor's license.
13. The lowest bid isn't always the best bid. Quality materials cost money, and a job done right takes time. Some contractors may offer a better deal, but if the price difference is drastic, they are likely cutting corners or pulling a scam.
12. Materials warranties don't include installation. If your new roofing has a 60 year warranty, that only applies to a failure of the actual roofing, not if it leaks due to improper instillation. In fact, this can void the manufacturer warranty. The contractor should offer a Labor Warranty covering the actual work done.
11. Delays will happen. No matter how reasonable the schedule sounds, it probably won't happen that way. Most contractors underestimate the time, and factors like weather can further postpone completion.
10. Contracts have loopholes. If you don't understand the wording, or know EXACTLY what the terms mean take it to a lawyer.
9. What you see isn't always what you get. Poor quality, or insufficient supplies are often used inside walls, under paint, and in buried wiring or plumbing. Ask for references from jobs at least a year old. Contact the homeowner and ask if they are still satisfied.
8. Changing your mind is expensive. Any changes made to plans after construction begins will involve undoing some work, re-drawing plans, and not using materials already purchased. Additional supplies are often more expensive because they are purchased in small quantities.
7. Building permits are for your protection. Never let a contractor talk you into bypassing the building permit to avoid fees and delays. This is a safety measure to ensure the contractor is licensed. And those inspections are worth waiting for, because the work is held to a certain standard.
6. Licensing is no guarantee. Some states have extensive skills and/or experience requirements. However, depending on the area and type of license, the requirements may be minimal. Always verify references and experience in addition to licensing.
5. An out of area license is invalid. You are not protected if the contractor's license is from another state, county, or city.
4. You have access to his or her complaint history. Providing the contractor's license is valid and current, the licensing agency can tell you if complaints have been filed in the past. The Better Business Bureau should also have a record of complaints, and resolution rate.
3. The contractor should clean up the mess. Home improvement can be surprisingly messy, and disposal of construction debris is expensive - especially if old materials are being removed.
2. You shouldn't have to pay for work in advance. You may have to make partial payment for supplies before the job begins. This should be around 10 percent of the total estimate, and never more than one third. Labor should not be paid for until complete - for example, 25 percent payment, after the job is 25 percent finished.
1. The number one thing your contractor won't tell you is: Don't believe anything he or she says! Verify license, reference, work needed and anything else you are told.
- Avoid the sting of using an unlicensed contractor
- Could you be arrested for hiring an unlicensed contractor?
- Do you need a permit for your renovation project?