So you have saved money, scrimped on the family vacations for years, or just eliminated them all together to save up for that dream house or addition. Even if you are just hiring someone to put on a new roof or fix some of those nagging problems around the house, here are few things you shouldn't hear when hiring a contractor.
"I need all or 1/2 of the money upfront".
If a builder needs all the money upfront, chances are they are not someone you should be dealing with. Depending on the size of the job, 1/3 down is an amount that gives the contractor some assurance you are invested in the project and gives him some money to pay for materials.
"I only use good subs".
Make sure you know who will be working on your house. If the contractor himself doesn't physically do the work, ask around about his employees or sub contractor. A bad sub can turn the project into a nightmare even when everything else goes smoothly. Make sure you check references not only on the contractor but sub contractors also.
"I'll throw that in if I get the job"
Contractors rarely throw something in. Make sure any additions to your contract state the work to done. Memories become forgetful as time passes. If it's not in writing they don't have to complete it. Just exercise diligence when asking for add on's. Changes are most cost effective for you when you do them before the project starts or better yet before you hire someone. Always have change orders done in writing prior to the work being completed.
"I'm licensed and I build to code"
Just because an individual has a license doesn't mean you will get quality workmanship. Good quality comes from experience and commitment to learning the trade; not purchasing or securing a license. Don't forget code is the minimum standard that all builders must abide by. Would you want a doctor performing an operation on you that knows the minimum way to complete the procedure? I wouldn't, neither should you hire a contractor that is only willing to do the minimum. Don't get me wrong, I have seen over-kill that is just wasting a homeowners money. Again, this is why you need to check out the previous work of your potential contractor.
"You don't need a special person or license for that, we can do it cheaper"
Beware of a builder wanting to remove things like asbestos or lead from your home unless he is qualified. EPA requires special training and certification for removal of materials considered harmful. If you are renovating, be sure your builder is RRP certified. You could be held liable yourself if you let someone work on your property and they don't comply with requirements.
Always check references
Make sure contractor is insured
Check for a vaild license