Although you may think you know what you want done, you don’t really know what you want done. You may decide that you need a new roof to be installed. Ok, but is that all you really want or do you want a roof installed properly at a reasonable price with adequate material that will last for at least another thirty years. Do you want the job to take 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months? These types of questions are impossible for the average homeowner to answer because we, as inexperienced home improvement property owners, have no idea what is really involved in completing the project we want to have done. This is where I suggest using the interview phase to determine what you really want done so that you can.
Once you have come up with a list of potential contractors and have confirmed they are licensed and insured, set a block of time, say a week’s time, to schedule each one to come to your home and show them what you want done. When asked, most homeowners I have spoken with told me the only information they compared with each contractor was how much the job cost.
My advice is to use the estimate process to learn more about what is involved in the project you wish to have done. Use the “interview” process to gain as much information as possible such as how long the job would take, does the water or electricity have to be shut off. Does the power have to be shut off, what materials are being used, how much access to each part of the house is needed, will the job require the house to be exposed to the outside elements. Each contractor may have a different answer but if you ask three or four contractors, you should be able to get an overall idea for the answer. Once you have learned a little more about the job itself and what is involved you can also do some investigation on your own via the internet.
Say you are having the heating system switched from steam to hot water. According to four different contractors, the job from start to finish should take 4 days and the water will need to be shut off for a short amount of time. The contractor will need full access to the basement and all the furniture will have to moved away from the walls in all the rooms. You now know that while the job is being done there will be some inconvenience which you want to keep at a minimum. Do you want the furniture in disarray for 4 days or 10 days? Do you want the water off for a half hour, a full day or three days? the answer may be obvious to you but, as I said, each contractor has a different answer for how he will be completing the job. Utilizing the interview process has now allowed you to learn more about the job you want and exactly how and when you want it done. This information will help in choosing the contract as well as what terms you should and must put into the contract to ensure you are protected before, during and after the job is complete.
If you would like more information or need assistance with a poor contracting job, then call our office to speak with a Long Island lawyer. We also serve Kings County residents in Brooklyn, residents of Queens, those in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as people in other New York areas.