Hiring a contractor for home updates

If you own a home, chances are that at some point you will need to hire someone to do repair work on your home. At Encharter Insurance, we know that it often involves risks to hire a contractor or craftsman to perform work in your home. Here are nine things to keep in mind before hiring a contractor. If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or fill out our quote form online today!

  1. Few recommendations . Ask your friends, family and neighbors if they have recently used a contractor, craftsman, plumber, heating / air carrier or electrician and, if so, would they use that person or company again. Ask your friends and family if their project was completed on time and within their budget. Find out if the contractor's estimates were correct.
  2. Consult Internet . Internet reviews from satisfied or dissatisfied customers can tell a lot about a potential entrepreneur. Review several websites that rate entrepreneurs and see what others have said about entrepreneurs you are considering. Also check with the Better Business Bureau if any complaints have been filed against potential entrepreneurs.
  3. Ask for references . Request the names and phone numbers of some new customers for whom your contractor has completed a similar job. Ask the references if they were satisfied with the finished product. Ask if anything has come up since the job was completed and if the contractor raised the issue. Find out if the final cost reflects the contractor's estimate and if the job was completed on time.
  4. Find out if your contractor is licensed and insured . You want the contractor to be insured and show you proof of insurance. If they are not insured, refer them to us for an insurance package!
  5. Get more estimates . Get two to four estimates from different contractors. Remember the old saying; you get what you pay for. This does not necessarily mean that you have to hire the most expensive contractor, but if one estimate is significantly less than all other estimates, it is a red flag. That contractor may plan to use lower quality materials or cut corners. The contractor may also have intentionally banned the job in an attempt to get your business, only to raise the price later.
  6. Get it in writing . Never pay a contractor before you have a written contract that describes everything the contractor should do in your home. The more specifically the work is identified, the better. The agreement must also state the cost of all material to be used and state the start and end dates. Find out if the contract price is an estimate that can change during the project or a total cost for completion. If the contract price is an estimate, make sure the contract states that the job may not exceed a certain amount. Also state in the agreement that no changes can be made, except in writing. Make sure that the contractor provides a guarantee on work and materials and that it is stated in your contract, including: who you need to contact to make a claim under the guarantee; any limitation on the amount of the guarantee; and the length of the warranty. The contract should also spell out all the contractor's information. For example, if you change floors, the contract must specify whether the contractor will move furniture and put them back when the job is done. You also want to indicate whether the contractor is responsible for decontamination and disposal of all building materials at the end of the project.
  7. Set a payment plan in the contract . You never want to pay a contractor more than 50% in advance. Depending on the size of the job, your initial payment will preferably be no more than about 30% of the total cost of the project. The agreement should specify that each subsequent payment is to be paid only after certain phases of the project have been completed and set a timeframe for each such phase to be completed. If a bank will provide a construction loan, make sure you have the right to approve each payment. If it is time for your next payment, or if your contractor requires a later payment from you, but the previous phase has not been completed, you have the right to refuse payment until the contractor completes the phase for which you have already paid. Always pay your contractor in a traceable way, ie. by check, credit card or debit card. Do not make the final payment to your contractor until you have verified that all work has been completed and is acceptable.
  8. Extra . Be aware that when you request upgrades or additional work, you will have to pay for the extra work. Once a project has started, it is often tempting to ask for upgraded materials or a little extra work to do. If your contractor agrees, you should find out how much the extra work or material will cost and get it in writing before the work is finished.
  9. Maintenance good data . Save a copy of your contract, any payments you have made, any additions or changes to the contract and any correspondence with your contractor. Even if you have had a conversation in person or by phone, make sure you document that conversation with an email or letter to you.

Hiring the right contractor ensures that your project is completed successfully, as well as on time and within budget. All in all, this process can seem daunting. But the time you spend searching and the details you put into your contract will be reflected in the final product. It would be a headache to work with someone you can not trust. You can find yourself with an unfinished remodel or a maximized budget. Give yourself time to do your research and ask the necessary questions.

We insure many local contractors and we are happy to refer to them. Just let us know what you are looking for and we can provide the reference. Once you have completed the updates, please let us know so we can update your insurance as well. You can reach us at (413) 475-7283 or online at https://www.encharter.com/ to fill out our online quote form today!

Read more

<! –

If you own a home, chances are you will someday need to hire someone to do repair work on your home. At Encharter Insurance, we know that it often involves risks to hire a contractor or craftsman to perform work in your home. Here are nine things to keep in mind before hiring a contractor. If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or fill out our quote form online today!

  1. Few recommendations . Ask your friends, family and neighbors if they have recently used a contractor, craftsman, plumber, heating / air carrier or electrician and, if so, would they use that person or company again. Ask your friends and family if their project was completed on time and within their budget. Find out if the contractor's estimates were correct.
  2. Consult Internet . Internet reviews from satisfied or dissatisfied customers can tell a lot about a potential entrepreneur. Review several websites that rate entrepreneurs and see what others have said about entrepreneurs you are considering. Also check with the Better Business Bureau if any complaints have been filed against potential entrepreneurs.
  3. Ask for references . Request the names and phone numbers of some new customers for whom your contractor has completed a similar job. Ask the references if they were satisfied with the finished product. Ask if anything has come up since the job was completed and if the contractor raised the issue. Find out if the final cost reflects the contractor's estimate and if the job was completed on time.
  4. Find out if your contractor is licensed and insured . You want the contractor to be insured and show you proof of insurance. If they are not insured, refer them to us for an insurance package!
  5. Get more estimates . Get two to four estimates from different contractors. Remember the old saying; you get what you pay for. This does not necessarily mean that you have to hire the most expensive contractor, but if one estimate is significantly less than all other estimates, it is a red flag. That contractor may plan to use lower quality materials or cut corners. The contractor may also have intentionally banned the job in an attempt to get your business, only to raise the price later.
  6. Get it in writing . Never pay a contractor before you have a written contract that describes everything the contractor should do in your home. The more specifically the work is identified, the better. The agreement must also state the cost of all material to be used and state the start and end dates. Find out if the contract price is an estimate that can change during the project or a total cost for completion. If the contract price is an estimate, make sure the contract states that the job may not exceed a certain amount. Also state in the agreement that no changes can be made, except in writing. Make sure that the contractor provides a guarantee on work and materials and that it is stated in your contract, including: who you need to contact to make a claim under the guarantee; any limitation on the amount of the guarantee; and the length of the warranty. The contract should also spell out all the contractor's information. For example, if you change floors, the contract must specify whether the contractor will move furniture and put them back when the job is done. You also want to indicate whether the contractor is responsible for decontamination and disposal of all building materials at the end of the project.
  7. Set a payment plan in the contract . You never want to pay a contractor more than 50% in advance. Depending on the size of the job, your initial payment will preferably be no more than about 30% of the total cost of the project. The agreement should specify that each subsequent payment is to be paid only after certain phases of the project have been completed and set a timeframe for each such phase to be completed. If a bank will provide a construction loan, make sure you have the right to approve each payment. If it is time for your next payment, or if your contractor requires a later payment from you, but the previous phase has not been completed, you have the right to refuse payment until the contractor completes the phase for which you have already paid. Always pay your contractor in a traceable way, ie. by check, credit card or debit card. Do not make the final payment to your contractor until you have verified that all work has been completed and is acceptable.
  8. Extra . Be aware that when you request upgrades or additional work, you will have to pay for the extra work. Once a project has started, it is often tempting to ask for upgraded materials or a little extra work to do. If your contractor agrees, you should find out how much the extra work or material will cost and get it in writing before the work is finished.
  9. Maintenance good data . Save a copy of your contract, any payments you have made, any additions or changes to the contract and any correspondence with your contractor. Even if you have had a conversation in person or by phone, make sure you document that conversation with an email or letter to you.

Hiring the right contractor ensures that your project is completed successfully, as well as on time and within budget. All in all, this process can seem daunting. But the time you spend searching and the details you put into your contract will be reflected in the final product. It would be a headache to work with someone you can not trust. You can find yourself with an unfinished remodel or a maximized budget. Give yourself time to do your research and ask the necessary questions.

We insure many local contractors and we are happy to refer to them. Just let us know what you are looking for and we can provide the reference. Once you have completed the updates, please let us know so we can update your insurance as well. You can reach us at (413) 475-7283 or online at https://www.encharter.com/ to fill out our quote form online today!

Chat with an Encharter agent about your insurance today:
413,475. 7283
Fill in our offer form online

->