The Benefits of a
Home Improvement Contractor

Find out why the right Home Improvement Contractor is essential to the success of your home improvement project and how costing one into your budget can actually save you time and money.

Discover why he must have a certified general or speciality contractors license and carry his own certificates of insurance.

Find out how much easier it can be for a licensed home improvement contractor to get the right permits you will need and get them through quicker.

Why it is so important that he MUST be able to give you a client reference list and back it up with before and after pictures of the work done and why you must follow up on the list by actually visiting his previous clients and talking to them about their experiences.

Find out why a contract with you is only valid if it has been issued by a home improvement contractor with the proper business license - and why the licensed contractor is the only type who should be relied upon to give you correct invoices for payment.

Discover all the murky pitfalls you can fall into if you don't have the right contractor for the work you need doing and how taking on someone unlicensed just because they seemed sincere can end up costing you thousands more that the worth of the job itself.

Different Types of Contractors!

There are basically three types of home improvement contractors:

  • One who is part of a state or national organisation of contractors
  • The local independent licensed contractor
  • The un-licenced contractor

You should have few problems with the first two on the list as long as they meet your list of criteria.

The third variety of this distinguished profession may well knock on your door looking for work - save yourself all the trouble straight away and please just say no!

Nailing down the right Contractor

The saying that "good contractors are busy contractors" is very true so it makes sense to try and source the right one for your project as soon as possible.

Ask how many jobs a contractor takes on at a time, the smaller business run by a lOCAL reputable licensed contractor may well have the advantage of taking on one project at a time right to completion before moving on to another - often resulting in a more personal service and detailed workmanship.

Larger companies may well be able to dedicate a contractor to your project plus they may have their own architect, designers and specialist and this could save you both on time and money.

There are organisations that can help you find U.S. or Canadian Insured & Licensed Contractors

And you could try finding a home improvement contractor through the:-

The Benefits of Using a
Licensed Home Improvement Contractor

A home improvement contractor will be able to contribute his experience and knowledge to make sure that your plans are the best for your home and for your budget.

He will be able to discuss materials with you and come up with quite a few options and ideas including new innovations in materials and techniques from within the housing industry.

You contractor will be able to source materials at trade prices, saving you money, and ensure delivery on time to meet your start date.

Your contractor will be able to liaise with architects and designers on your behalf and fully discuss the plans with you for your approval.

He will also be able to get the all important permits for your project from your local building office, he will probably know the folks working there quite well.

Your contractor will be able to subscontract specialist work, supervise the workmanship and make payments.

There are many many great and good contractors out there who are capable of bringing in your project on time and on budget.

If you were wondering if it is really worth hiring a contractor let's take a look at all his full time responsibilities - and give yourself a moment to think if you would really have the time to cover all these points

What will your Licensed Contractor do for you!

This is what your home improvement contractor - who will be onsite in the WHITE hard hat will more or less do for you...

(Please note: this is our own list of suggestions!)

A Home Improvement Contractor will be able to manage all concepts of your project for you from start to finish - they should be able to:-

  • give you copies of his license and insurance papers.
  • agree to a down payment and staggered payments upon completion of different stages of the project and a final payment.
  • agree with you on the design and materials to be used for your project.
  • agree to discuss with you any design or material changes or any problems that may come up.
  • agree to supply you with all the warranties and details and terms of the suppliers of all materials used.
  • agree to supply you with warranties covering workmanship.
  • supply you with a proper contract including for example: all his contact details and start and completion dates and a "broom clause" to ensure site cleanliness.
  • respect you right to cancel which should be included in your contract.
  • have no problem getting the required building permits for your project.
  • be able to help you to arrange financing if required for larger projects.
  • be able to hire licensed subcontractors.
  • make sure you also get copies of their licenses and insurance papers.
  • supervise subcontractors and the level of work done.
  • pay subcontractors.
  • source materials at trade discount prices.
  • pay suppliers.
  • supply you with correct and valid invoices for payment.
  • keep you updated and inform you of any problems or required changes as they happen.
  • work with architects.
  • work with designers.
  • supervise workmanship on site.
  • see the project to completion.
  • make sure that you are satisfied with the work.
  • schedule inspection visits.
  • will supply you with all payment details - especially that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid - which you can check out before your final payment is handed over.

The Home Improvement Contractor will dedicate his time in making sure that your project runs smoothly, on time and on budget, (time and budget extensions are often due to the homeowner making changes!).

He or she will keep you updated about any changes for whatever reason and seek your final approval.

For anyone who thought that taking on a home improvement contractor was an extravagance, I hope that this list helps you realize how really hard working they are and just how much they contribute to a project.

This list however is to give you an idea of what you can expect from a home improvement contractor and should not be taken as gospel and you should seek local professional advice before signing any contract.

Dangers of Disreputable Contractors

If you are approached by a contractor, maybe knocking on your door looking for work - and who does NOT carry a valid license which is also valid to work in your state, he will NOT be able to apply for your permits.

If your remodeling or extension is done without any permits you could well be made to pay for the work to be taken down and possibly have to pay an additional fine

He will not be able to produce an independent contractors insurance. There will be no personal insurance him, for his workers, the materials to be used or the work done - everything could be in jeapordy.

He will not be able to supply you with certificates of workers compensation coverage - if something unfortunate happens to a worker while at your home you will be responsible for covering compensation which could cost many times more than the proposed project itself.

Properly licensed subcontractors will not work for an unlicensed home improvement contractor - unfortunately high standard workers will not be coming to your home.

Reputable architects and designers will not work with him either - he might even try to pull out a few drawings of his own.

He will probably ask for one cash payment and will want all the money before starting the project, he will say he needs it to buy materials - no supplier will work with him on an invoice basis.

An unlicensed contractor will not be able to produce warranties for work done and if you decide to move house you will not get the vital certificates required to prove the improvement work done to validify the increased value of your home.

Some may even try to get you involved in home improvement loan scams - imagine getting tied up in an additional financial mess like this, you could lose your home

Unfortunately there are too many stories of disreputable home improvement contractors preparing work for a job and as soon as they have received all the payment they disappear leaving your home a wreck.

In Summary

Please don't go down the wrong path with the wrong home improvement contractor.

There really are so many great fully licensed and insured contractors out there who can work with you and really help make your home improvement project a success...

Interview your short list of contractors and get copies of their licences and insurance papers and references list.

Phone and visit ALL the references given and find out how their project went and if they were satisfied with the home improvement contractor.

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