#1. Confirm the sales person works for the company.
· Verify that the individual with whom you are
speaking is an authorized agent of the company.
#2. Use a licensed contractor.
· Ask the company to provide a copy of their license. It is
important that you verify the license is still in good
standing. Remember that you can find a list of your
state's licensing requirements, and verify status of a liscense
on the MyFlorida.com website.
#3. Ask for proof of insurance.
· Ask the company to provide a copy of their insurance
certificate. We recommend that you verify with the
insurance agency or carrier that the policy is still in
#4. Finalize the contract before starting on a project.
A good contract...
· Should be written on company letterhead.
· Should contain the company's name, address, phone
numbers, and license number.
· Should contain the consumer's name, address (where
work is to be performed), and phone numbers.
· Is dated when it is written.
·Includes a detailed description of the work that is going
to be performed.
· Includes an anticipated start and finish date
· Provides a payment schedule.
· Clearly states whether permits will be pulled, and who
will be responsible for pulling them.
Make payments to the company that was referred.
· Do not make payment to another individual.
#6. Avoid paying with cash.
· Checks are preferable, and be sure to
get a receipt for all payments.
#7. Don't pay unreasonable advances.
. Up to 50% deposit is reasonable, but usually less.
· For larger projects, a good rule of thumb is to make
one payment per month, but be sure to make that
payment dependent upon the progress of the work. If
the work is 25% complete, then release a payment of
25%of the total amount.
· Don't pay in full until the project is completely finished
and you have completed your final inspection.
· If sub-contractors were used, be sure to get signed
releases from all sub contractors clearly indicating that
they have been paid in full by the general contractor.
· For larger projects, don't make the final payment until
you have passed the final building inspection.
#8.Advance money for materials only to be used on your job.
· If possible, make sure the materials are
delivered to your house with a receipt showing that
they have been paid in full.
Check local court for any pending lawsuits.
· Consider checking local city and county records
if you your job warrants the extra trouble.
#10. Document all changes to the contract.
· Make sure all changes to the original contact, no
matter how small, are documented and signed off
by both parties.
It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s unwise to pay too little, too. When you pay too much you may lose a little money …that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
The Common Law of Business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot…it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
- John Ruskin