The 10 most common mistakes when hiring a contractor….

Congratulations, you’re about to build your dream house,  repair your building or remodel the office.  So you’ve narrowed down the selection of builders.  Make sure to:

1. Failing to check their references, not just the ones they give you. Ask at the local building department, see if they have other jobs going on and speak to those owners for a more candid view.

2. Go check out a few similar projects of the potential builder.  Are the project sites neat? Does the foreman seem to have it together? Are permits displayed? What’s the vibe? Do the men look safe and alert?

3. Only start construction after signing a written agreement (The American Institue of Architects have great templates to buy online)

4.  Make sure the cost is identified . Be fair and ask for breakdowns / itemization of cost if something is unclear or seemstoo high.  Ask for explanations in a non-antagonist way. Also be wary if an item is too cheap- they may have missed something. This can be a problem because the builder may try to “make it up” later in the job when the ommision is discovered and mysterious charges appear.

5. Specifiy a construction Schedule,  Get it  in writing with verifiable milestones so everyone can monitor progress. Don’ t make it too short, where quality may be jeopardized, nor too long when inattention and inconvenience can damage the project.

6. Make sure you discuss and document Payment installments and invoicing,  Keep it consistent and commensurate with project completion.  Make sure invoices are issued at agreed intervals so money can be ready.  Indicate a means of prompt payments.  Assure that each payment is accompanied by a receipt or a lien waiver.

7. Identify a withholdings for the end of the project, often called retainage, This is an agreed portion of payment to make sure the contractor has good reason to complete your project. Usually, a hold- back of the last 10% until everything is done to your satisfaction.

8. Clearly separate responsibilities (who does what), Whether you, the Owner, are supplying kitchen appliances or medical equipment, it needs to be stated so there is as little grey area for mis-interpretation.  If you are bringing an indepandent sub-contractor like a painter, that too needs to be clearly understood.

9. Have a regular means of communication, a weekly telephone call, meeting or progress email is critical to keep everyone on the same page.

10. Patience is critical. Once the job starts, make sure you and the contractor move along together, talk frequently and pay ontime…address any job issues quickly and decisively.

Let’s talk and see where you stand 914 674 2950-ask for Steve.