10 Tips for Working With a ContractorWritten by Debbie Rodgers
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oThe company name, address (not a post office box) & phone number, name of builder, contractor and licence number, if applicable oA detailed project description oA materials list oA statement that all necessary permits and inspections are responsibility of contractor oStarting and completion dates oWarranties of workmanship, length of warranty, and specifically what's covered and what's not oContractor's guarantee that he carries liability insurance and worker's compensation coverage oA statement that clean-up will be done by contractor oThe total price and payment schedule Be wary of hourly, time and materials or cost-plus pricing where final price is not determined until completion of project. Although it may seem higher, a fixed price may give you best protection and price. Be cautious about upfront payments for more than 15% of contract price. The schedule and criteria for each instalment should be clearly defined in contract. Any instalments should be not be required on a certain date, but correlated to work completion. Do not pay cash. A reputable builder will ask for a check.
7.Make any changes to project in writing with a "work order change" to avoid misunderstandings and surprises. 8.Keep pets and children away from construction site. This will ensure not only their safety, but also that of workers. In addition, it helps keep project on schedule. 9.Inspect work regularly. 10.Pay directly and promptly according to contract. Above all, you should feel comfortable communicating with your contractor. If you sense he is being evasive when you are getting a quote, it won't get any better during construction period. Find someone you understand and who understands you, and who is open and forthright.
Working with a contractor takes a little preparation, but following these steps is well worth it. Are you looking forward to your new outdoor space?
Debbie Rodgers, the haven maven, owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on “Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space”. Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Homeowners: Kiss Your Keys Goodbye!Written by Steph
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What are things to look out for when choosing a lock? Pretty much what you would expect:
1. Make sure you get a high-quality lock with a good warranty, at least 5 years, from a reputable dealer who also has a clear, no-nonsense return policy.
2. Find a dealer that will sell you parts, just in case you need them.
3. If you think you’ll be purchasing more than one, also ask about volume discounts, even if you purchase them at different times.
4. Look for a dealer that carries several models and finishes, so you can get exactly what you want.
5. Check out installation instructions. These days, any homeowner equipped with a phillips head screw driver should pretty much be able to install these locks themselves and change combination in just a matter of minutes.
6. Make sure you know up front what tax, shipping and handling costs are.
7. Finally, shop around. Use Internet to find sites that sell digital door locks. It’s fast, easy, and secure.