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Question DetailsAsked on 6/16/2011

Tips for hiring carpenters and others

I am going to list a few things we learned the hard way when trying to build a house. 1. Try to purchase all materials yourself and pay for labor only. 2. DO NOT pay any type of deposit up front on Labor only jobs. Have you ever been paid in advance for work not yet done. 3. DO NOT pay until work is completed and done to your satisfaction. 4. Write down EVERY THING you exspect to be done and the amount to be paid for work. Have it signed. Pictures and detailed drawings of work exspected is also good. Take before and after pictures. 5. Have them show you their work in other homes if all possible. 6. If you do pay installments as the work progresses, have them sign for the payment and include balance owed. 7. If you see they do not know aht they are doing or doing non quality work it is beast to let them go before it is to late. 8. If you have someone come to give an estimate and they put the pressure on to SIGN NOW or they will not be able to fit you in, RUN FOR THE HILLS. 9. Contractor comes to look at job and he starts pointing out the mistakes of others, RUN FAST, this is their way of covering their defective work. When it becomes evident they aren't all that they will blame their errors on some one else. 10. Know as much about the job as possibe. Example Installing Hardi Plank Siding, go to their site and read all the directions, and then when the contractor put a field cut edge jamed down to a deck, you will KNOW it is WRONG. 11. When you have a signed contract and have kept your part of the bargain, job is not finished or not done correctly DO NOT now allow them to intimidate you by threating a lien. Don't waste your money on Attorney fees. If they do go to court, take your contract, pictures ect. and present your case. 12. Someone rips you off contact your Attorney Generals Office, they helped us get money back for leaking, non draining gutters. 13. Have your worker sign an agreement that they will be responsible for damage to materials. We all know mistakes happen so be resonable. We just had a worker, so called 25 year trim man cut up over $300.00 worth of azek, just because he didn't know how to measure 2 cut 1. Only one example of wasted materials. 14. If you hire one man and he sub contracts the job to someone else, make sure you have the actual person who did work sign off that they have been paid, before the contractor is paid all the money.

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2 Answers


This is a great list. The one thing I would add is that your relationship with your contractor and his subs does not need to be adversarial. Be a team player by letting them know that you understand your rights and have expectations of their work, performance and service. If you hire a good General Contractor he will represent your interests and cover his and your concerns by documenting work, progress and material specifications. He should also be taking before and after photos. There are a lot of details in all construction projects so find someone who is a good communicator and seems very honorable..

Answered 9 years ago by Scot


It's a good idea to become familiar with contractor guidelines as set by your state's governing board. It's important to know the rules, as this will help ensure you are paying fair amounts and not being illegally charged.

In doing research for Angie's List, several California contractors have alerted me to such guidelines. The Contractors State License Board sets a guideline that down payments for services cannot equal more than 10 percent of the final project or $1,000 - whichever is less.

Knowing the guidelines in your state could help save you time and money in the long run.

Answered 9 years ago by Katie J.

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