Before you start any home project, you should always obtain a signed contract from the professional or company that will be working on your home. Whether you’re hiring a handyman for a few minor upgrades or a general contractor for a major renovation, you need a contract before work can begin. Your contract will outline and define the terms and conditions of the service, and when signed by yourself and the service provider, is legally binding. Still not convinced that these are 100% necessary? Read on to learn about the importance of having a contract.
Your contract should include the scope of the work, what materials are included and which are excluded, a timeline and schedule of the work and, of course, terms of payment. It should also describe how changes to any of these factors will be managed. It will also include a description of the quality of workmanship you can expect and how disagreements will be dealt with. You should also look for mentions of warranty, insurance and a communication and cancellation protocol. The contractor may include a clause allowing them to photograph the project and place signage around the site. Lastly, make sure that there are no mentions of liens in case of a missed payment.
The language in the contract should be simple to understand and very specific. Avoid generalizations and do not hesitate to ask for clarification if there are portions you don’t understand. For large projects, many homeowners also choose to have a lawyer review the contract before signing. That’s how important the contact really is.
Why It’s Important
A lot of the time, a home project is a significant investment. Home projects also often require deposits before work can begin to purchase materials or hire trades. Ideally, any exchange involving significant amounts of money should be done using a contact. It is the best way to protect yourself if things go awry.
Worst case scenario, a contract allows you to get your deposit back if work hasn’t started within 30 days of the agreed start date or within 30 days of signing the contract. Should the money not be returned, a contract allows you to file a formal complaint or pursue legal action.
Another instance where you might find a contract useful is ensuring that every aspect of your project is completed to the standard you agreed to. The contract gives you a formal document to refer to if you feel a part of the project, like clean up, was neglected. It also helps if you would like the team to come back for touch-ups and small improvements.
Lastly, your contract is a helpful resource should you need information on warranty, the project cost, schedule or any other documentation. Instead of writing this information down and having to update it yourself, you can quickly refer to your contract for years to come.
Now that you understand the importance of a contact and what should be included, you can rest assured that you and your home will be protected. With any home improvement project, you should always be left 100% satisfied on completion, and a contract is an important way of making sure that’s the case.