Home

Feature Article:

Use Shelves And Storage Units To Conquer All That Stuff!
(NC)—Stuff! Stuff! Stuff everywhere! The clutter starts to overwhelm. However, life can by simplified and clutter tamed with a few organizational hints and a good shelving or storage system. Planning. Determine the purpose and style of the...
...Read More


10 Tips for Working With a Contractor

Additional Reading


This is the year you're going all out. You're going to build a deck, add a porch, erect a gazebo or lay a patio. You've done the research. It's well within your capability and you're looking forward to the satisfaction of creating a structure of beauty.

Or not. Yes -- you'd like to proceed with an outdoor structure but for you, it isn't a do-it-yourself project. How can you find the right person to do it for you? Here are 10 tips for hiring and working with a contractor.

1. Plan your project carefully. Clip pictures, make sketches, write a description. This will help you accurately convey to the contractor what you want the finished product to be.

2. Make a list of contractors. Ask your neighbors or friends for the names of reputable tradesmen. Contact material suppliers -- lumberyards, for example -- and ask for recommendations.

3. Get at least three written bids for the project, but don't give in to the temptation to automatically accept the lowest bid. A higher bid may be worth the price in better materials, workmanship and reliability. If you get a very low bid, the contractor may have made a mistake or forgotten to bid on everything you wanted. If they have deliberately low-bid, they may use cheaper materials or take shortcuts to make a profit.

4. Many states and provinces require registration and/or licensing. For the USA, www.nationalcontractors.com provides a starting point for your state and type of construction. Click on Verify Contractors License. If licences are required in your jurisdiction, be certain to ask to see your contractor's licences and be sure that it's not expired.

5. Ask for references and then check them out. Look at the projects and ask the previous clients if they are satisfied with the quality of work done, if it was started and completed on schedule and if it is complete.

6. Get a signed, written contract and be sure you understand it. The Construction Contractors Board of Oregon claims that the single biggest cause of homeowner-contractor disputes is the written contract: not having one, having a poor one, or having one everyone ignores. A good contract should include:


  • The company name, address (not a post office box) & phone number, the name of the builder, contractor and licence number, if applicable

  • A detailed project description

  • A materials list

  • A statement that all necessary permits and inspections are the responsibility of the contractor

  • Starting and completion dates

  • Warranties of workmanship, the length of the warranty, and specifically what's covered and what's not

  • Contractor's guarantee that he carries liability insurance and worker's compensation coverage

  • A statement that clean-up will be done by the contractor

  • The total price and payment schedule


    • Be wary of hourly, time and materials or cost-plus pricing where the final price is not determined until completion of the project. Although it may seem higher, a fixed price may give you the best protection and price.

    • Be cautious about upfront payments for more than 15% of the contract price.

    • The schedule and criteria for each instalment should be clearly defined in the contract.

    • Any instalments should be not be required on a certain date, but correlated to work completion.

    • Do not pay cash. A reputable builder will ask for a check.



7. Make any changes to the project in writing with a "work order change" to avoid misunderstandings and surprises.

8. Keep pets and children away from the construction site. This will ensure not only their safety, but also that of the workers. In addition, it helps keep the project on schedule.

9. Inspect the work regularly.

10. Pay directly and promptly according to the contract.

Above all, you should feel comfortable communicating with your contractor. If you sense he is being evasive when you are getting a quote, it won't get any better during the construction period. Find someone you understand and who understands you, and who is open and forthright.

Working with a contractor takes a little preparation, but following these steps is well worth it. Are you looking forward to your new outdoor space?

Debbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on “Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space”. Mail to debbie@paradiseporch.com

 

More Reading:


Decorating for real life and real people

Quick Housecleaning Tips For Your Home

Use Shelves And Storage Units To Conquer All That Stuff

Building or Decorating Your Home Requires House Plans

No More Estate Agent Fees

 
Why Use a Property Manager

Its Party Time Lets Decorate

Satellite TV

What To Do With A Lamp

In The Mood


Decorating a Child's Room - 8 Simple Strategies to Make You Both Happy!
When it comes to decorating a child's room, your approach should be much different from decorating an adult bedroom. For kids, their bedroom is where they play games, read, listen to music, day-dream, or just go to be alone sometimes. So use...
...Read More

How to Sell Your House For Full Price
How to Sell Your House For Full Price Without a Broker Many people believe that a real estate broker is needed to sell their house. So they post it with a broker who may or may not sell it and if they do charge exorbitant fees. One would...
...Read More

Carpet Takes Center Stage
(NC)—From soft, layered intricate vine and floral designs to multi-levelled patchwork weaves to tailored ribs, geometric loops and lattices to nubby, terry-like twists, there are more than 200 styles and 4,000 colours of wall-to-wall carpet on...
...Read More

Maximizing Space on a Minimized Budget
Do you often have friends, family, or guests over for the weekends and are in desperate need of a spare bedroom? Are you going nuts trying to figure out how to turn that extra bedroom that’s never used into an office, yet still wondering how to...
...Read More

Area Rug Buyers Guide
Area Rug Buyers Guide brought to you by NatureRugs.com provides some important practical considerations when purchasing & decorating with an oriental rug. When you begin decorating your home there are some important factors to consider. Your...
...Read More