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Contract Tips

Before hiring a contractor for any major home improvement project, all agreements should be put into writing. The written contract should include:

  1. The contractor's full name, address, telephone number and professional license number
  2. A detailed description of the work to be done. Specify the materials to be used -- quality, quantity, weight, color, size, brand name, etc.
  3. The starting and completion dates
  4. The labor cost and the material charges
  5. Information on how and when you must pay
  6. Any warranties and guarantees of workmanship
  7. The method for debris and material removal when the job is complete
  8. A "right to cancel" clause. This gives you time (3 days is the standard) after you have signed the contract to change your mind. The clause should also describe what happens if unexpected problems occur after the work is begun.

Some precautions:

  1. Never sign a contract unless it is filled out completely.
  2. Read the entire contract carefully. Ask questions.
  3. Keep a copy of the signed contract.
  4. Do not pay more than the required minimum down payment before the work is begun.
  5. Do not pay the balance until all work is completed and debris removed.

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