Quick-Tips by Steve Gonzalez C.G.C.|
Save Time, Money & Aggravation During Home Improvement Season by Steve Gonzalez
Ever had a bad construction experience? Many people have. Some complain of poor
workmanship, extra costs, slow job progress, sloppy job sites and not receiving
the materials or appliances they anticipated getting. Others have been left
financially stranded by bankrupt builders or contractors. Still others have been
just plain ripped off.
What's the problem?
Many people tend to put as much trust in a builder or contractor as they do
their family doctor. It's important to remember that while we may know our
family doctor for many years, a builder or contractor will most likely be a part
of our lives only during our project — and until he's paid in full.
While considering that a builder or contractor we just met does not know our
preferences and tastes, a shocking realization can occur — the builder or
contractor's preferences, tastes and idea of "quality" may not be the same as
ours. A contract stating that a new home will include "white appliances" can
leave homeowners open to receiving whichever appliances meet the builder's or
contractor's taste, preference — or cash flow. Just because a model home in a
development has top-of-the-line, name-brand white appliances doesn't mean you'll
receive them too.
What's the solution?
Communication and specifications. To get exactly what you want in a new home or
remodeling project you must do two things: communicate and be specific.
The "communication" that must be done with a contractor or builder is not only
verbal. In fact, it is mainly on paper — in the form of your contract. (Always
obtain a written contract, no matter how small the job.) In order to get a
certain type of white appliance, we must "communicate" it on paper as well as
verbally. This is where specifications come into play. Specifications include a
full, exact description of the items, materials or appliances you want installed
or used on your project. Your "white appliance" description should look
something like this: Brand X, Model #1234, color code #34
(pearl white), 24 cubic feet, side-by-side refrigerator. That's specific. That's
specifica-tions. And they should be included for every material and appliance
you expect to see in your finished project.
Sorry, it wasn't in stock...
Be careful of clauses in contracts that state a builder or contractor's right to
substitute items of "equivalent" value for those you specify. Add your own
clause requiring the builder or contractor to notify you in writing of any
out-of-stock items so that YOU may choose alternates.
If it's too good to be true...
Many people are too eager to go for the best possible price they are quoted for
construction. The reality is that the best price is almost never the lowest
price. The lowest price is more often a pitfall for added extras that can end up
costing you more than the highest bidder's original price. Well-written
specifications that become a part of your contract can totally eliminate the
need for extras, while at the same time offering more comparable bids.
Do your homework.
It's a good practice to check the credentials of each contractor or builder you
are considering. Be sure to obtain legible copies of license and insurance
documents. Don't forget to include a copy of each builder's or contractor's
Gather as much information as you can regarding your project to present to each
potential candidate. Provide each contractor or builder with the same
specifications so that they may all bid "apples for apples." Remember that your
investment of time can make your project a more rewarding experience.
Steve Gonzalez is a nationally noted contractor with over 32 years experience in
the construc-tion industry. He is the author of Before You Hire A Contractor: A
Construction Guidebook for Consumers. For more information / ConsumerPress.com /
For more information about how we can help you or to obtain a quote call
954.817.3030 or use our contact form.