Do your research.
When finding and hiring a contractor, make sure you do your research, not only by obtaining multiple bids and researching a contractor’s business history, but make sure you hire the right contractor that is experienced with jobs similar to your project.
Speak Up and Be Clear.
If a contractor is not performing the work satisfactorily, speak up! Make sure you and your contractor have a solid understanding of the work to be performed and how you envision your completed project. Provide photographs of how you’d like your project to look, if you have them. If you are not satisfied with the work performed at any stage of the project, speak up and let your contractor know that.
For example, if you don’t like how a particular paint color looks on your walls and the contractor is halfway (or even a quarter) done, let them know that immediately if you don’t like it or it does not meet your expectation. This way, if you decide to change colors, the contractor can immediately begin working on your new color(s) instead of your paying the contractor to finish the paint project that you don’t like, only to recreate it with the new color(s). Also, some colors are harder than others to cover (i.e., reds and purples) because they can “bleed” through the new paint color. This will require additional time for the contractor which will then, in turn, cost you more, not only for new paint, but for the contractor’s time and additional material.
If you are an investor and your project is out of state or out of town wherein you cannot monitor your project on a consistent basis, make sure your contractor is sending you photos on a regular basis so you can obtain a better understanding of how your project is coming to fruition.
Take photos throughout the process.
This is vital to a homeowner. Be sure to take “before” photos. If a contractor doesn’t provide satisfactory services, “before,” “during,” and “after” photos will assist in defending your case should it proceed to litigation. Nobody likes to go to court, especially due to the expense of attorneys, experts, etc. However, if your contractor agrees to perform such work in a timely and in an acceptable manner agreed by both of you, should their work turn out to be substandard, you have photographs that will assist the court in understanding your needs and wants for the project. Also, if you can, it would be helpful to date stamp the time on your photos with your camera (if your camera has this feature).
Keep realistic deadlines. A contractor will usually provide you with a timeline of when they will be doing specific projects. Many things can hinder that schedule, including inclement weather, short-staffing, and the need to purchase unexpected additional material to complete your project. This is common.
However, communication with your contractor is key so you both have that understanding.
If you have questions about your contractor-homeowner relationship or you suspect that it may have gone awry, contact a construction business attorney today. At Hunsaker | Emmi, P.C., we defend homeowners in these situations and help them figure out what to do next.