Are you considering hiring a contractor? Do you need work done on your home, such as new construction of a fence, a deck or an outdoor, custom shed? Are you worried that your contractor is going to take advantage of you and take your money with him? If this is your first time working with a contractor in your local area, you may be nervous about how to communicate and to negotiate with your contractor. That is a normal feeling, but there are some simple things you can do to prepare for interacting with your contractor. You can keep honest the contractors you work with a little practice and intuition. Over time, you likely will get better at standing your ground and making your requests known to your contractor. Here are a few tips to think about as you prepare:

1)Read the Contract:

Before signing with a contractor, read the fine print of the contract. Read the contract twice. Make sure that the contract allows for penalties should the contractor fall through on his end of the deal. For example, what happens if he misses a deadline? Before you sign, make sure there are specific terms for the contractor receiving payment for work when it is complete. Some contractors may require a specific amount up front, but those terms are negotiable.

2)Keep Calling:

Don’t be afraid to call your contractor every day, especially if you don’t see workers on your site. Remind him that you are paying him to complete a job. It also may be to your advantage to tell him that you will never recommend him to anyone if he does not arrive on site consistently and do the work well.

3)Inspect the Work:

Inspect the work every day. If there is something you do not like, or if the contractor has done a sloppy job, then point out the work and ask that it be redone.

Don’t let a contractor walk all over you. Because contractors have to manage multiple projects at a time, there may come a time when they get behind on your project. That’s when it is time to call the contractor and remind him that you have paid him to do the work and that he is under contract. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder. Also, make sure you review all of the contracts stipulations before you sign. You can write penalties into the contract if the contractor misses deadlines. But you have to explore these options before you sign. That always the key. With a little practice and a little courage, you will be well on your way to keeping your contractor honest.