An important aspect of hiring a contractor to do work in your home is to understand what permits, special requirements or licensure are required for each job. Once that’s understood, you can know whether it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or a handyman.
Be sure to ask for referrals and references and know the relationship of those referring parties to the contractor. Ask for pictures of installations on similar jobs that have been performed for others and give those referring parties a call or visit to ask how the work was performed, the attitude during the job, coming in on budget and wrapping up on time. Discover if there are any negative remarks online or with the BBB. Be sure he or she is qualified to handle the scope and type of work needed, especially with regard to special conditions such as lead based paint, asbestos, mold, etc.
If the home is occupied, if personal items are stored there or is otherwise notid_verified vacant, be sure to qualify your contractor if he’s unknown to you through online services such as mysmartmove.com or others. Get a copy of the contractors driver’s license and have him sign a w-9 to include his social security number. If you’re an investor and renovations are common for you, you may want to investigate the Verify Photo ID app recommended by Inman News.
Next, execute an Independent Contractor Agreement with your contractor. Be certain it has no verbiage or requirements to suggest the contractor is an employee of yours.
Now is the time to outline and understand the three phases of the renovation. The initial Phase One is paid on day 1 of the job. The subsequent draws for Phases Two and Three should be paid by the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. In constructing the phases, the contractor should budget for each item and any overages or misquote is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. Make sure your agreement covers things such as milestones, and outlines the scope and sequence of the work to be completed. The contract should include the description of all work, and condition of Customer Satisfaction such as all items completed in a workman like manner, job site left clean and tidy daily, and no items incomplete.
Ideally the home owner should have chosen paint colors, sheens, types for each space, cabinets, granite and whatever materials will be used in the project at the source. Have your Independent Contractor pay for those materials and have that provider deliver the materials to the job site, then reimburse the contractor immediately – this strategy avoids any appearance of establishing an employee/employer relationship. Do not pay for routine tools and supplies the contractor uses in his everyday business such as paint brushes, ladders, tarps, etc.
If you’re not the owner occupant at the job site, require the contractor to provide daily pictures and videos of each phase when complete before scheduling a personal inspection and before payment on that phase is released. An investor can use this in the future or marketing.
In exchange for the final payment the homeowner should sign off that he is satisfied with the job, and the independent contractor should sign that he is releasing all liens in exchange for final payment.