How may I find and manage a contractor?

One of the most important steps in a home improvement project is selecting a qualified and licensed contractor. The following check list will allow you to utilize the best hiring practice.

Do your homework
Get written detailed bids from three contractors. Compare the bids and ask questions. 
Don’t assume that the lowest bid is the best deal. 

Verify that the contractor’s license is active by calling 386-410-2800. 
Ask for, and check references. Look at other jobs the contractor has completed. 

Ask the contractor questions
  • Does the contractor have the experience and expertise to do the work you want done?
  • Who will do the actual work – the contractor, subcontractors or employees?
  • Who will get the permit?
  • How many other jobs will the contractor work on at the same time as yours?
  • What written warranties are offered?
  • Who can I call if I have questions or concerns?
Ask yourself questions
  • Can I communicate with this contractor?
  • Does this contractor seem honest and forthright?
  • Do I have reasonable expectations, including being prepared for unexpected costs and delays? 
Contract includes
 A carefully written contract includes several items at the minimum
  • A list of materials to be used including quality, quantity, weight, color, size, brand names, etc.
  • A list of allowance items and the budgeted amount. An allowance is a specific amount of money to buy items not yet selected. When these items (such as light fixtures) exceed the allowance, the homeowner pays the additional amount.
  • A list of permits and who will get them.
  • A payment schedule. Agree in advance to a payment schedule that coincides with work completed. Don’t pay for everything up front.
  • An agreement that all change orders will be signed by the contractor and the homeowner. All change orders will be dated and will include the nature and cost of the change. The change will include who is responsible for the additional cost.
  • Workmanship warranties and specifically what they cover.
  • Copies of the permit, plans, notice of commencement and any other important documents.
  • Start and completion dates.
  • The total price.