Details To Know Before You Hire Help or Work Contractors
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Details To Know Before You Hire Help or Work Contractors

Whether you require the services of a plumber, carpenter, electrician, or cleaning service, you'll save money in the long run by shopping around.

Whether you require the services of a plumber, carpenter, electrician, or cleaning service, you'll save money in the long run by shopping around. Ask people you trust for their opinions and recommendations. When you can, take a look at the work that was done for them so you can have a comparison on quality. Choose at least three workers and ask for estimates before awarding a contract for a job. When you ask for estimates, give as many specifics about the work as you can, or the bids could be inaccurate. If there are substantial differences between bids, ask why. The lowest bid is not necessarily the cheapest in the long run. It might be low because the worker plans on using poor-quality materials that would soon have to be replaced, which means you will be paying twice for the same job in just a few years.

All in the Contract

Your best defense when hiring outside help is a clear, well-thought-out contract. Be sure you participate in writing it. More informal agreements—like simple letters of agreement—will do for jobs costing $1,000 or less. In addition to specifying starting and ending dates, the contract must include the following:

- Total amount and an outline of payment. Don't pay too much up front. It's good to save your largest payment for last.

- A description of the work area, with distinctly described boundaries and a description of the work itself.

- A description of materials. This is also known as drawing up specifications, or specs. Quality, dimensions, weight, color, and style are some of the data you should insist on. Request guarantees of product life and performance too.

- The contractor's guarantee of his liability for personal injury and property damage on the job.

- A waiver of mechanics' lien rights. This says that subcontractors can't try to collect from you if the contractor defaults on payments to them.

Retain the Right to Refuse

When composing a contract for outside help, request for a right-of-refusal clause. This guarantees your right to reject a subcontractor whose qualifications do not meet your standards.


If you will be hiring an architect to help you design a house or addition, try some of these ideas (architects will perform most of these services for an hourly fee)

- Do all the work yourself and pay to have the architect review your work at various stages. Or contract with the architect to help you run through the initial conceptual explorations, and then take it from there.

- Work through a design program, and ask the architect to make a conceptual sketch. You can prepare construction drawings from that sketch.

- Utilize an architectural drafting service to draw up the construction papers from the design drawings.


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Comments (6)

Excellent tips.

Darn right about getting things in writing! Second quotes are good to get too. I one time made the mistake of hiring the husband of a friend, he told me the toilet needed replacing, I trusted him, I was wrong, years later I found out a simple fix was all it really needed.

Great DIY article.I like hiring someone who has been recommended by a person I know.

Excellent advice to follow!

good article thanks

yep get everything in writing