How to Work with Building or Remodeling Contractors

How to Work with Building or Remodeling Contractors

Make sure your general contractor is effectively managing your remodel

By Sylvia Cochran

Woman and Contractor Looking at Plans
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Finding and hiring contractors is a labor-intensive process; however, it is well worth the time and energy to establish an excellent business relationship with your hired professionals.It's important to define your expectations and communicate openly with your contractors, considering that you will allow be working with them and allowing them access to your home for a prolonged period of time.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Working with building or remodeling contractors requires proper documentation. Keep copies of your contracts handy.
  • A wall calendar can help you stay on top of your contractor's project timeline -- plus, it can make sure that you are making payments on time.

Step 1:

Hire a general contractor for extensive remodeling projects. Large remodels can involve a number of different subcontractors and suppliers. The general contractor can take the stress off of you by becoming your representative and managing the various companies, handling payments, enforcing contract terms and dealing with the subcontractors on your behalf.

Step 2:

Mark the project timeline on your calendar. You will find the dates and benchmark achievements on your contracts with the various building or remodeling contractors. On or about the due dates, check in with the general contractor to ensure that the subcontractors met the goals. If there is a delay, make sure you clarify what the contractor will do to catch up.

Step 3:

Pay all agreed upon monies on time by check or with a credit card. Do not pay in cash, because this does not create a paper trail. Even though you do not anticipate problems, it is a good idea to be able to trace payments made or verify who cashed the checks. Additionally, the canceled check provides you with proof of payment, which you may need if a contractor or subcontractor erroneously files a lien against your property.

Step 4:

Take action immediately if you notice a problem with materials or workmanship. Do not wait until the project is finished, the building inspector does not pass the work or you have discussed the situation with outsiders. Instead, contact the general contractor or the subcontractor in charge of that particular aspect of the job and set up a meeting. Communicate your concern, evaluate the contractor's response and put all promises and assurances made in writing. They may become an addendum to your original contract.

Step 5:

If a contractor fails to meet expectations defined by the contract, file a complaint against the contractor with the licensing agency that oversees his or her line of work. Contact also the Better Business Bureau. Discuss with your general contractor what steps to take to keep the project moving forward, but take copious photos of the work or materials that are substandard.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Hire licensed, bonded and insured contractors.
  • Ask for and check the contractors references.
  • Stay out of the way and let the contractor do his/her job.

About the Author

Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.

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