How to Hire a Home Contractor: Tips and Best Practices

A home construction or renovation disaster can easily happen if you hire the wrong contractor. We’ve all heard the horror stories about contractors who don’t show up to the job site, spring unfair fees on you at the last minute or can’t seem to finish the project anywhere near the deadline. To keep yourself safe from these types of situations, it’s important to follow certain guidelines when hiring a contractor. Keep reading for tips and best practices for hiring a contractor.

  1. Seek multiple bids — We recommend that you obtain at least three bids from different contractors.

  2. Hire only a licensed contractor — Check the Arizona State Contractors License Board to ensure that your contractor is licensed and in good standing.

  3. Hire insured contractors — Always insist upon a certificate of insurance for general liability insurance. Uninsured workers who are injured on the job may file damage claims against the homeowner.

  4. Get references — It’s a good idea to obtain references from the contractor’s previous customers. You may also want to consult third-party review resources such as the Better Business Bureau or Yelp before making a final selection.

  5. Financing — Ask your contractor about available financing options.

  6. Never sign a contract under pressure — Insist on at least 48 hours to study any contract.

  7. Get a thorough written contract before any work begins — Any work valued over $500 requires a contract. In the contract, be sure to specify the start and completion dates of the job and insist on a progressive payment schedule specifying exact costs. For your protection, you may want to invest another few hundred dollars to have an attorney review your contract. Be sure to require that all change orders must be in writing.

  8. Never pay cash — Pay by check or credit card.

  9. Pay as you go — To start a job, never pay more than 10% down or $1,000—whichever is less. Hold back 10% on the final payment until after the entire job is complete and has been inspected by the proper authorities. Never pay for work before it is done.

  10. Keep a job file — Put receipts, permits, plans and anything else pertaining to your job in the file.

For more tips and advice about home renovation and construction projects, feel free to give us a call today.


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