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"The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten. "

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

To Contract or not to Contract?

What are the elements of a good contract?

First when should you get a contract? In California if the amount of the work is $500.00 or more a contract is required. If you need a contract then you need a licensed contractor. If you are contracting in California then you can go to and click on the link "check license status" to insure the contractor your dealing with is properly licensed for the work you need done.

Home Improvement construction contracts require certain elements. Verify your does. Here is a simple list of items that should be in your contract:

1.) Contractors business name, persons name, address, phone number and STATE license number.

2.) Description of the work.

3.) Description of the materials and equipment needed or used.

4.) Material(s) model number(s) and product Specification(s).

5.) The Contract price.

6.) Payment schedule.

7.) Start and completion dates for work done.

8.) Permits and tests.

9.) Permissible delays and time extensions.

10.) Extra work order requirements.

11.) Release of "Mechanics' Liens"

12.) Attorney Fees

13.) Arbitration information.

14.) "Complete Agreement"stipulation.

15.) Owners Right of Cancellation (3 day rule)

16.) Emergency Service Waiver of Right to Cancel (if needed for emergency service or repair)

These simple elements let you know if your dealing with a professional or just someone who looks like one and usually charges like one yet doesn't necessarily produce like one. Beware, there are a lot of "nice people", "professionals" and "specialists" out there who do less than acceptable work for more than acceptable pricing.

A bad contract can be as bad as no contract at all in some circumstances. Request one none the less and read it carefully. If it is not written in plain english and easy to understand then ask questions. If they can't answer the questions then when a problem arises it is too late.
Contracts only ensure that money should change hands for certain work or services being performed, not that the price is fair or the work will be done to your satifaction. Ask about customer service policies, warranty work scheduling and be sure to give your input as to what is acceptable to you in these matters. The best warranty is worthless if it doesn't meet your needs or is never honored.

Contracts protect customers and contractors alike. Make sure any agreement you enter into is one you understand and protects you. Once accepted you are just as responsible for following it as the contractor is. Ultimately, you are the customer and a true professional knows that what is in your best interest is in thiers also.

your plumber,


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