Protecting Yourself and Your Home When You Sign a Home Improvement Contract
By Hank Jaworowski, CR
Founder and President of The Home Improvement Success Club of America™
A Home Improvement Project can be filled with a variety of problems and headaches. Most people are very trusting individuals and are not aware of the many problems that occur when one attempts a home improvement project. If you choose to embark on a project than you need to protect yourself and your home from common problems that occur BEFORE you sign on the dotted line. Make sure that before you sign a contract with someone to do a project that the following items or clauses are included in that contract:
- CONTINUOUS WORK CLAUSE – This clause should detail the minimum number of people working on your home each day, Monday through Friday. If weather is a factor and work cannot take place, you should include in your contract that you will receive a call by 8 a.m. that day, if no one is going to show up because of bad weather. The contractor should agree to 7 hour work days, and work will not run past 5:00 p.m., unless permission is received by you. Reduction of $_________(determine an amount) in total price if project work schedule not continuous, with minimum manpower, for full seven.
- STARTING DATE CLAUSE – Full refund by contractor if job not started by__________.
- COMPLETION DATE CLAUSE – The amount of $_______ will be subtracted per day, for every day project is not completed by________.
- WORK SITE CONDITION CLAUSE – All areas to be kept “broom clean” on a daily basis. Define “broom clean”.
- WORK STOPPAGE CLAUSE – this gives you the right to cancel the contract if work is deemed unsatisfactory or gets inexplicably delayed.
- MATERIAL INSTALLATION CLAUSE – All installations will be done according to manufacturer specifications and local building codes, unless otherwise noted.
- ARBITRATION CLAUSE – If unsolvable problem(s) arise both parties agree to arbitration by National Arbitration Board or other. Both parties agree to abide by decision.
- WARRANTY CLAUSE – All labor and product warranties will be supplied by contractor before final payment.
- MATERIAL DELIVERY AND STORAGE CLAUSE – All deliveries to be accepted by contractor, securing materials will be the responsibility of contractor until installation and materials will be covered and placed _________ on property.
- SUBCONTRACTING CLAUSE – Contractor shall not assign this project to any other company or individual, unless they are listed as a subcontractor, without the written consent of the homeowner.
- PERMIT AND FEES CLAUSE – Contractor is responsible for all required permits, fees or notices required for the work within.
- PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAUSE – Contractor shall be responsible for any damage caused to existing conditions. The contractor is liable for the full cost of the repair. The homeowner will determine who will repair the damage and at what cost.
- JOB SITE BEHAVIOR CLAUSE – No loud music, foul language, alcohol or drug consumption, no cigarette butts to be left on property, and workers will wear shirts at all times.
- COMMUNICATION CLAUSE – If homeowner needs to clarify a situation and attempts to call contractor or contractor’s office during daytime hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), contractor agrees to return call or contact homeowner within 2 hours of homeowner’s call. If call back or contact is not made within 2 hours, there will be a deduction of $_________ per occurrence from the cost of the project.
SUBCONTRACTOR NAME, ADDRESS AND LICENSE NUMBERS CLAUSE -Names, address and license numbers of all subcontractors to be used on project.
- STARTING DATE CLAUSE – Full refund by contractor if job not started by_(Date)__.
- COMPLETION DATE CLAUSE – The amount of $_______ will be subtracted per day for every day project is not completed by_(Date)_.
These 17 clauses will protect you and your home from problems that will occur in the completion of your Home Improvement Project. Make sure your contract includes them all.