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Hiring a Contractor
HIRING A CONTRACTOR
BY MATTHEW M. ROSEN, ESQ., CEO ROSCO HOLDINGS, INC.
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten" -
This quote by Benjamin Franklin, inventor, patriot and a shrewd judge of people, although uttered more than 200 years ago, remains true today. Choosing a product or service solely or primarily on price is generally a losing proposition. People almost always end up paying more in the long run when price is the only or primary factor considered.
Author John Ruskin made the following observation: “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too little.” Simply stated, cheap is not good and good is not cheap and there will always be someone who can, or claim to be able to, do something cheaper or less expensively regardless of what it is. Not to mention, if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is and disaster is just around the corner.
The home improvement and construction industry is plagued with deals that have been commenced by customers who have focused solely on price. A customer will inevitably ask a contractor for “the lowest price” on a project or shop the job until he finds it, regardless of the contractor’s licensing status, experience, references, proven objective track record and integrity. Unfortunately, if the contractor is dishonest, the lowest price won’t include every item in the scope of work that is capable of being accounted for or it won’t include the add-
Customers who have preconceived ideas about what they want based upon price may not clearly understand the total cost or the best solutions available to them. To truly get the “best deal,” both customer and contractor must move beyond focusing solely on price and into the realm of customer value, factoring in price, quality, service and reputation. Doing this requires the contractor to demonstrate his value to the customer during the bidding process and ultimately, by providing goods and services at the “lowest true cost” which is real long-
It is always in the customer’s best interest to contract with someone who has knowledge and understanding of the products and the market, someone who offers the best long-
A few aspects to consider when hiring a contractor
• Proper licensing and insurance coverage with the contractor’s / company name on both
• Corporation versus Sole Proprietor operating under a fictitious name
• Ability to understand, visualize and conceptualize the customer’s ideas and desires
• Engineering and building construction knowledge
• Good with numbers
• Good organizational skills
• Ability to realistically estimate productivity, project time line and approximate completion date
• Impeccable references or referral from someone you know and trust for whom the contractor actually did a job
• Long term relationships between contractor and sub contractors
• Experience in the type of work for which he is being considered
• Timely presentation of organized and clearly written contract, proposal or bid
• Contract clearly written with scope of work presented in a logical manner
• Contract clearly specifies payment schedule, general conditions and special conditions
• Contract includes items such as: masking floors, installing dust barriers, debris removal and clean up where applicable
• Search of prior permit history in municipalities to view and determine inspection pass/fail ratio
• Search of prior permit history in municipalities to view and determine contractor's actual experience and likelihood of job going and finishing well.
• Search of public records for liens or litigation involving the contractor to determine contractor's actual experience and likelihood of job going and finishing well.
CAVEAT EMPTOR -