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Question DetailsAsked on 1/10/2013

What are your rights when dealing with contractors?

What should you expect of them prior to, during and on completion of a job?

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Your basic rights and protections under law are probably outlined by your state and city's laws. In most states, the easiest way to look up your basic rights and privelges as a consumer would be to visit your state's attorney general website - you can usually find lots of great tips to protect yourself as a consumer there, too. Here's the National Association of Attorneys General's national listing, which includes a link to each state's attorney general website:

Beyond those basic rights under the law, your expectations of a contractor during, on and after the completion of a job should be explicitly outlined in the estimate and contract. Although it can be a pain in the butt, ALWAYS read the estimate and/or contract before sign it! I cannot stress this enough - frequently the cause of someone's negative experiences with a contractor can be traced back to too few details in the contract.

We've covered contracts, and what you should expect to see in them, here:

Good luck!


Answered 7 years ago by JP


The first thing I expect of a contractor (including myself) is punctuality, before, during and (within reason) upon completion. There is very little reason for not showing up on time to do the estimate. That being said, everybody gets busy and has momentary lapses in concentration so it is best to call them an hour or two beforehand to confirm. When he is doing the job, I expect him to show up at the same time every day, work a full day and finish about the same time every day, until the job is done.
Second is communication. If the contractor can't explain what he plans to do, then you probably have the wrong contractor for you. He might be fine for someone else, but if you don't understand him after asking for clarification, then don't hire him. He should give you a progress report at the end of every day as well as what he plans to have done tomorrow and any difficulties he ran into that changed his plan.
Third is competence. He should have a plan of action before he starts and shouldn't need to stand around trying to figure out how to do the job after he starts. There are exceptions to this rule: can't get the material he planned to use, you change the parameters in the middle of the job, he finds something that makes the job different after he starts, etc...
On completion, the job should be finished, functional and clean! Trash and scrap should be cleaned up and deposited in your trash container. Your project should be ready to use. You should have his final payment ready to go as soon as he is done. Contractors are far more responsive to customers who hold up their end of the contract when it comes to warranty work or another project.

Answered 7 years ago by Vern


I agree with all previous comments. But the less expensive the work the lower your expectations and demands of the contractor should be.
Jim Casper 40 yr Home Improvement Contractor
ps for advise on roofing gutters & covers see my blogs


Answered 7 years ago by jccasper


All good points and also remember to never base the hiring of your contractor on price. That should be the absolute last consideration. He needs to be someone you are comfortable with first, able to communicate effectively with second, and knowledeable in the work he is going to do.

Check references. I can't stress this enough. Few people do and if they had they might have learned earlier the guy was just a good salesman and everything else was a downhill slide. It's better to know up front who you're dealing with. If he's prudent he's done a little homework on you as well to make sure you actually own the home and don't show any outward signs you're going to stiff him on pay.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX

Answered 7 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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