My experience working with contractors


So with owning property, whether it’s your primary residence or rental property, there are times you’ll be forced to hire somebody to do the work. Either it takes you 10 months to do the job, or it takes them 2-weeks. And they can do it cheaper, lessen the headache of going through constructions. Or so you thought!

1. Money talks, they do come to work so they can get paid. That lead to the contract. Either you buy materials or give them 25% so they can start the project. They all act like they need the money ASAP, but in reality, you need to put down no further payment until work is done (50%). Then another 25% after passing inspection.

2. If you are doing major construction, it’s best to get permit for the job, because you are not always home to monitor how they do the job. So it’s best to have check and balance making sure they do things to code. Because they all tell you it’s coded! But it’s not until it’s pass inspection.

3. Have them sign liability release form, make them provide insurance information, licenses, the contract is clear, they will get fine if they don’t sign release or not live up to agreement. Dint let them bring you the contract, most of them are not educated, or their contract has a lawyer prepared it so it’s very one-sided. Therefore, if they give you one, read it carefully, then tell them to come back in several days after you reviewed it, add in things you like, and always have a cancelation clause. That way, if they are horrendous to deal with, you can just fire them. Or if they bid by the job, you can fire them after they are done with that job, or pay them for the work up to that point and move one. Always, give yourself room to back out.

4. Don’t make friends with them. Maintain professional relationship is a good thing. Friends with them, then it’s hard to tell your newly made friend to work for you. All of a sudden they go from calling you “sir” or “mamm” to your first name then to disrespect you, ignore little details. It might not be too hard to fix, but somebody still have to go back to finish out the detail.

5. Paint, stain, mud, sand, etc details and details specify the number of coats, if not they’ll tell you one coats is what we agreed on, if want more, pay more. They will find every opportunity to charge you more.

6. Inspect their work. Make them show you electrical diagram, incase when walls go up, you don’t know where is where, what’s is what, same things with plumbing. Or take extensive pictures.

7. It is stressful to live on a construction zone, your spouse is not your enemy. Keep your cool.

8. Everybody makes mistakes, but you have to do a project to know the process. If you do lose money in the process, consider your paying tuition, it’s not a regular classroom, but you are learning and growing.

9. If you do pay for materials, you check all receipts, some of them will make you pay for their tools, slip in here and there, and it adds up. They also can work on multiple project and will purposely take your materials to work on other jobs. If you catch it, they’ll say they forget, if you can’t catch it, it’s theirs. So when they order materials, you do the math with them, do the measurable, and research. If they bid on the job, then they skim you on cheap materials, so you’ll have to put on the contract, which materials you want from the beginning. It sounds like common sense, but common sense doesn’t count if it’s not written in the contract.

Do you have any things to add to this? Please share with me your building and working with contractor experiences.

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