February 14, 2009
Dealing with Contractors
First, you should choose the contractor who is right for you. One popular theory says that there are three aspects to consider. Those are: timely service, quality work, and pricing. This theory states that you can’t get all three aspects with the same company. That’s you can’t get great quality work fast and at a competitive price.
There is some truth to this theory. That being the case you should decide what’s most important to you.
Do you need the job done fast or is it OK if the contractor takes a few weeks to complete? Are you only interested in top quality work or it’s OK if it’s a little rough in places? And, are you willing to pay top dollar or are you looking to get more for less? You should consider these aspects thoroughly and then follow your instinct.
Once you have chosen the contractor you want to work with, you should handle your payments to him very carefully. After all, that’s really all that’s motivating the contractor to come to your house and do the work. Most contractors will demand a deposit of 1/3 or 1/2 of the total job cost, to put you on his schedule. You can go ahead and put down this deposit, but you need the agreement in writing, which includes all specifications of work to be done and the time frame in which he will start and finish.
Even if the contractor mentioned some work he could do during consultations you had with him, if it’s not in the contract, don’t expect it to get done. Even something as small as pruning some shrubs or clearing an area.
Also make sure the contract has real time frames. If he says he can start in a week and complete within two weeks then get it in writing.
Ask for a penalty clause that says, for every day that goes by, outside of the time frame set, he will deduct $100 from total job cost. Contractors are familiar with this clause and should agree to it.
Once a job is halfway completed, some contractors will ask for another payment. If the payment schedule was broken into thirds and the work is going well, then go ahead and pay the contractor so he can complete the work. If things have gone very badly to this point, then don’t pay and excuse the contractor from the job.
When the job is almost completed the contractor will ask for the final payment. This is where you have to be strong. Make a list of all the details that have not been finished and tell the contractor he must finish the list before you will pay him the final payment. If you are comfortable you can pay him the majority of the final payment, but withhold 10% or so until the finishing list is completed.
Do not pay the contractor the total final payment if he is not completely finished. Remember, he is working for the money no matter how well you are getting along. Once he is paid he will go looking for the next paycheck from the next client.
Contractor should make following:
1. Expert coming to the place of prospective building of backyard waterfall;
2. Total cost calculation of waterproof liner, ground coating, the equipment, etc
3. Create the sketch of waterfall, cascade, stream, pond, etc.