We specialize in residential and commercial projects including interior and exterior renovations….from offices to old character and newly built homes. If you are planning a project or a renovation on a specific area of your home or business, look to the experts at AL SCHICK Construction to get the job done right!
Al’s Tips on Hiring a Reputable Contractor: PART 2
After You Hire a Contractor
Keep all paperwork related to your project in one place. This includes:
- copies of the contract
- change orders
- any correspondence with your home improvement professionals a record of all payments. You may need receipts for tax purposes.
Keep a log or journal of all phone calls, conversations, and activities. You also might want to take photographs as the job progresses. These records are especially important if you have problems with your project — during or after construction.
Don’t make the final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you’re satisfied. Besides being satisfied with the work, you also need to know that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Provincial law allows them to file a lien against your property to satisfy their unpaid bills, forcing you to sell your home to pay them. Protect yourself by asking the contractor, and every subcontractor and supplier, for a lien release or lien waiver.
Know the limit for the final bill and when you can withhold payment
If you have a problem with merchandise or services charged to a credit card, and you’ve made a good faith effort to work out the problem with the seller, you have the right to contact your credit card company and withhold payment from the card issuer for the merchandise or services. You can withhold payment up to the amount of credit outstanding for the purchase, plus any finance or related charges.
Use a Sign-Off Checklist
Before you sign off and make the final payment, check that:
- All work meets the standards spelled out in the contract
- You have written warranties for materials and workmanship
- You have proof that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid
- The job site has been cleaned up and cleared of excess materials, tools, and equipment
- You have inspected and approved the completed work
Signs of a Home Improvement Scam
How can you tell if a contractor might not be reputable? You may not want to do business with someone who:
- Knocks on your door for business or offers you discounts for finding other customers
- Just happens to have materials left over from a previous job
- Pressures you for an immediate decision
- Only accepts cash, asks you to pay everything up-front, or suggests you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows
- Tells you your job will be a “demonstration” or offers a lifetime warranty or long-term guarantee
- Can’t be found online
- Doesn’t have any good reviews from previous customers
The Home Improvement Loan Scam
Here’s how it works: a contractor calls or comes to your door and offers a deal to install a new roof or remodel your kitchen. He says he can arrange financing through a lender he knows. After he starts, he asks you to sign papers; they may be blank — or he might hustle you along and not give you time to read through them. Later you find out you’ve agreed to a home equity loan with a high interest rate, points, and fees. What’s worse, the work on your home isn’t done right or isn’t completed, and the contractor — who may already have been paid by the lender — has lost interest.
To avoid a loan scam, don’t:
- Agree to a home equity loan if you don’t have the money to make the payments
- Sign a document you haven’t read or that has blank spaces to be filled in after you sign
let anyone pressure you into signing any document
- Agree to financing through your contractor without shopping around and comparing loan terms
Report a Problem
If you have a problem with a home improvement project, first try to resolve it with the contractor. Many disputes can be resolved at this level. Follow any phone conversations with a letter you send by certified mail. Request a return receipt. That’s your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy for your files.
If that fails, consider getting outside help like:
- Your local home builders association
- Your local media’s
- Dispute resolution programs/services