Written Contract

What it is and why you need one…

We’ve all heard the horror stories of the contractor that walked away with a client’s money without performing any services or not competing services agreed upon. Although many would like to believe the true value of a handshake, a home remodeling project is typically a large sum of money and the details of the work are what matter the most. A contract is a crucial part of remodeling your home and a powerful tool for both the homeowner and the contractor. It maintains accuracy and accountability along with the scope of work and details of what services are to be performed. It outlines who is responsible for what and ensures expectations are set for both parties. 

Home remodeling is a big undertaking, and all aspects should be outlined and understood by both parties for a successful project from start to finish. The last thing that an owner needs is to find out that the contractor is asking for more money because he or she underbid the project and didn’t include items that should have been in the original scope of work. 

A proper contract should have the following:

  • The contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number (if required)
  • A detailed proposal that lays out the scope of work 
  • All of the projects technical items are outlined in the proposal
  • A payment schedule for the project that outline each payment  milestone and their amount from start to finish
  • How change orders are handled. A change order is a modification to the original scope of work. It can be additional items, alterations to the scope of work, or unforeseen items (keep in mind that any adjustments to the work described in the original contract could affect the project’s cost and schedule).
  • Details or specifications on how unforeseen items are handled. During a remodeling project things can pop up that weren’t initially planned for such as a faulty shut off valve or additional electrical modifications due to changes in your home’s layout that weren’t anticipated.
  • A detailed list of all finish materials. If some finish materials will be chosen later, the contract should say who’s responsible for choosing each item and how much money is budgeted for it (this is also known as the “allowance”)
  • An exclusion clause if applicable. Are there services the contractor is not performing? For example, is the contractor priming and painting?s debris removal included with the services provided? 

Additional items recommended to check:

  • Do they carry general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance for their employees (if applicable)?
  • Are there reviews online or references that verify the integrity of the contractors work?
  • How does their team operate? Are there standard start and stop times during construction? Do they work on weekends? 
  •  How will I be notified of upcoming scheduled work?
  • Are their team members all employees or independent contractors/subcontractors?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they completed projects similar to yours?
  • Who do I contact during my project for questions, issues and/or concerns?

We’ve walked through this process with countless other homeowners and would love to answer any questions you have about working with a home renovation contractor. If you’ve decided that you want to start the conversation about remodeling your South-Eastern Michigan home, give us a call at (810) 374-6400 or send us an email at info@unlimityourhome.com!