· Compare costs by getting more than one estimate, each based on the same building specifications, materials and time frame.
· Be sure the written contract includes the contractor’s full name, physical address, phone number and NHBRC registration if required. .The contract should also include a thorough description of the work to be done, the grade and quality of materials to be used, the dates agreed upon for starting and completion, the total cost, payment schedule, how debris will be removed and any other agreement information.
· Never sign a partially blank contract. Strike through any blank areas.
· Most contractors have liability and compensation insurance to protect the customer from a lawsuit in the event of an accident. Ask to see a copy of the insurance certificate.
· Make sure to get physical address and landline telephone number, otherwise you will be unable to trace the service provider.
· If you cannot pay for home improvements without a loan, it is a good idea to add a clause to your contract stating it is valid only if financing is obtained.
· Thoroughly inspect the contractor’s work before making final payment or signing a completion certificate.
· Check the company and its reputation by asking for references.