Tag: Home Contractors

Handyman Hiring Guide

Whether you are hiring a contractor or a handyman to complete some type of work around your home, a handyman hiring guide is a useful tool to prevent frustration and increased expenses. We have called this post a handyman hiring guide, but you can apply this to any situation where you hire someone to do some work for you. It is short and just makes common sense. It could save you a lot of time, frustration and money if you hire someone following these common sense rules.

Handyman Hiring Guide

Write down on paper exactly what you want to have completed.

Select all materials or at lease as many as you can in advance to reduce or eliminate assumptions and overhead costs that might be added later.

Verify that the contractor knows what he is doing and has the experience. Ask for references and talk to those references as well.

Do not pay in advance for any work or materials unless it is special order. Materials should always be in your name and delivered to your address rather than the contractors.

All agreements should be in writing, clearly specified and initialed by both parties. Changes should be discussed in advance, costed and agreed to in advance. No surprises.

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When to Hire a Snow Removal Contractor

When to Hire a Snow Removal ContractorNow is the time to consider hiring a snow removal contractor. With winter just around the corner, many people are thinking about that awful job of clearing snow from their driveways. They wonder, should they check on their old snowblower to see if it’s working? Or should they contact a snow removal contractor to arrange for snow clearing during the winter?

My neighbor has done this. He loves to stand in his front window drinking his coffee while the contractor clears the snow off his driveway! But other than economics when should you hire a snow removal contractor?

When to Hire a Snow Removal Contractor

When it comes to cost it is simply cheaper to buy your own snowblower and clear the snow yourself. The cost of annual contract times the number of years that you will use a contractor will be far costlier than buying your own snowblower.

However, there are other reasons why many people consider hiring a snow removal contractor. One reason that many people hire a snow removal contractor is simply time. They just do not have the time to spend clearing snow early in the morning before they go to work or after they arrive home so they can get the car in the driveway.

Another reason is health. This is a major issue and should be taken seriously. If you are not the type to do routine work around the house and stay in shape then clearing snow could be dangerous. Many people suffer heart attacks after shoveling snow.

Even if you do use a snowblower there is always some snow that you have to clear by hand. If you are a coach potato, bite the bullet and hire a snow removal contractor now. It is just not worth it to take a chance with your health.

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Avoiding Bad Renovation Contractors

Avoiding Bad Renovation ContractorsHome renovation, kitchens, bathrooms, landscaping, and just about anything that needs repair or updating around the home is one of the biggest industries these days. Lowes and Home Depot are making millions selling to homeowners and contractors alike. Many homeowners need more time, skill, or desire to do it themselves and decide to hire a contractor even though it will cost much more money. This website is dedicated to saving consumers money, and most do-it-yourself homeowners can save thousands if they do the work themselves. Avoiding a bad contractor can also save thousands, so this post is all about this.

Avoiding Bad Renovation Contractors – The List

Do your homework and hire professionals even if they cost a bit more money. Avoid the fly-by-nighters by following the following guidelines, and you should end up with a good contractor, although there are no guarantees.

  • Obtain detailed fixed price quotes
  • Always get references and call and visit those references
  • Check BBB for references and reviews
  • Look for online reviews
  • Educate yourself
  • Understand what and how the job will be done
  • Pay for materials yourself and arrange for delivery
  • Pay the contractor only for work performed
  • Include a 10% holdback to cover issues
  • If progress payments are required, tie them into performance milestones
  • Never pay in advance; find another contractor if this is an issue
  • On large jobs, penalty amounts are ok
  • Take pictures of the starting area, progress, and final product
  • Document any issues in writing with pictures or video
  • Identify issues immediately

If you feel uncomfortable about any of the issues, the contractor, or his work ethic, then it is time to move to another contractor before you commit and award the contract.

Large vendors of renovation materials like Lowes and Home Depot have many installers who work as contractors and come recommended by these stores. In fact, all of your financial dealings are usually with the supplier, i.e., Lowes, for the material and the installation. They guarantee the work and offer a level of protection that many small contractors cannot provide.

If you have additional comments or suggestions, please leave a comment, and we will add them to the list.



Hardwood Flooring Contractors

Consumers who have decided to install hardwood floors in their homes must also decide what hardwood flooring contractors they will hire. In most cases the store they purchase the hardwood from can also provide installation services for them. They are providing a list of subcontractors that have been vetted by the store. Most hardwood stores will only recommend hardwood flooring contractors that they have experience with and who they can count on to do a good quality job and who also stand behind their work. After all their reputation is on the line as well, since if they have a dissatisfied customer, it will not matter whether it is with the material or the subcontractor, the store is still going to get a bad reputation.

However everyone has to begin somewhere and this is also true of hardwood flooring contractors. They need to gain experience and sometimes will work under another professional hardwood flooring installer to learn the trade. They may work together until the contractor has sufficient experience that they feel they can go out on their own and take on their own contracts. The questions for consumers is whether you want to be part of the training period when you are probably spending thousands of dollars on a new hardwood floor.

Questions for Hardwood Flooring Contractors

We put together several questions that will hopefully help consumers when they are hiring hardwood flooring contractors or even just going with the contractor that the store recommends.

  • How Long have you been laying hardwood floors?
  • How many installations have you completed on your own?
  • Can you provide references that are willing to speak with us?
  • Do you warranty your work?
  • When will the work begin?
  • When will you finish?
  • Will you stay on our contract until it is finished?
  • What precautions do you take to avoid dust in our home
  • What precautions do you take to avoid damage to other parts of our home
  • Do you clean up all sawdust and board ends that may be left over

Squeaky Floors and Hardwood Flooring Contractors

You may have other concerns or questions that you also want to ask the contractor that we have not listed. let us know what they are and we will add them to the list for other readers. Some home owners will request the contractor to explain how they will go about the installation, which way will the grain of the floor flow, how does the grain flow relative to the joists underneath and so  on. For example, your floor will gain maximum strength of the hardwood strips flow across the joists underneath the floor. this can be very important if you want to minimize squeaks in your floor. Most floors will squeak at some point and in one or two locations. In fact our floor squeaks in the winter time when the humidity in the house is the driest and the wood shrinks a bit because it is so dry.

It also squeaks in the hallway and nowhere else for some reason that we have not been able to figure out and only in the winter time as we explained. This is one of the weird things about our home and it will be a different location and even a different time of the year for your home. Having the contractor explain how he will install your floor will tell you a lot. If he does not mention installing across the joists, then you may want to add some probing questions of your own to see if he really knows what he is doing. Another point is that I like the contractor to set up his saw outside to minimize the dust in the house.

Leave Comments

Feel free to leave comments for our readers about your own experiences and any suggestions that you may want to leave for our readers. We can all assist each other to avoid situations that are less than what many people would like to experience with hardwood flooring contractors.

Hardwood Floor Contractors

Hardwood Floor ContractorsHow does the average consumer hire hardwood floor contractors or should they try to install the hardwood floor themselves? These are the types of questions that most consumers ask themselves when they are considering installing a new hardwood floor. If they are thinking about hiring a hardwood floor contractor, should they use the one recommended by the store they are purchasing the wood from? Or should the go and find one on their own? We will spend a few minutes discussing these issues. Hopefully our comments will help readers make up their minds regarding which approach to take.

Store Recommended Floor Contractors

Most stores have a number of hardwood floor installers on contract that they can refer their customers to.  Some of the installers will actually be employees if the store is large enough. However most will have several contractors that are known to them and have a reputation for doing excellent work. They will not refer work to contractors unless they do have an excellent reputation. Since any work that is not satisfactory will reflect badly on the store. This is just common sense and makes really good business sense to operate in this manner.

Stores that hire the contractors for you will usually warranty the work these contractors do. If they refer contractors to you and you hire them, there is no warranty from the store for the work the contractor does.

Signing Contracts with Hardwood Floor Contractors

It also depends on who your contract for floor installation is with. Pay really close attention to this point. Just because you pay the store for the hardwood material and installation, you could actually be signing two contracts. One for the hardwood material and a second one for the installation. It is always a good idea to clarify this point. If you have an issue with the installation of the flooring, who do you turn to for resolution and warranty? Will the store stand behind their product and their services which includes installation?

If the store wants you to sign a separate contract for installation, they may be just processing the contract. Also collecting a finder’s fee for passing along the work to the contractor. In a situation such as this one, the store is not taking any responsibility. Consumers should be more careful in this situation. You may want to ask for references before you proceed. The onus is on you the consumer. Hence you may as well hire someone who you are comfortable with after having done your research.

Do It Yourself Hardwood Floor Installation

At this point a basic decision regarding whether you should hire a contractor or do the work yourself is in order. If you are handy and take the appropriate courses or read blogs like this or watch the many Youtube videos on the subject, customers can save a lot of money. The money you save will pay for the tools you need to buy or rent and you will have the satisfaction of having done the work yourself.

There are many good contractors around and they can be hired at a reasonable price. Check out the criteria for hiring contractors on our website. If you have the time and are not afraid of work and learning how to lay a hardwood floor, most consumers will give it a try. Most hardwood floor contractors, at least the good ones will provide references with no problems at all. They will also have pictures of some of their work that you may be able to take a look at.

If you are not happy with the work discuss it with the contractor right away. Monitor the work during the day the floor is being laid and let him know right away before the floor is completed. It is a much bigger job to correct a defect after the floor is finished, rather than when it is in the process of being laid.


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