How do I protect myself from payment disputes with general contractors?
If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered.
What is a reasonable pay schedule with a contractor?
Absolutely ask. Paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. Include this payment plan in the contract, as well.
What should be in the contract with a contractor?
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work and all costs are listed in the contract, including details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
How do I protect myself from the cost of contractor injuries?
Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Can I ask the contractor to clean up the mess?
Yes. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.