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Tips for Working with Home Contractors

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Consumers have rights and responsibilities in the marketplace!

Tips for Consumers

  • Know the exact work you want done
    Never agree to get work done on the spot. Decide what improvements you want then seek out a qualified contractor.
  • Job estimates
    Get estimates, including specific information about the materials and services to be provided, from several contractors.
  • Ask for references
    Always contact the references provided and ask the following questions:
    • Can I visit your home and see the work the contractor did?
    • Did the contractor keep you updated throughout the job?
    • Were the workers on time?
    • Would you use this contractor again?
  • Get a written contract
    Insist on a detailed contract, in writing, signed by the contractor.
  • Do not pay unreasonable advances
    Set up a payment schedule that corresponds with specific stages of the job. All money paid in advance is required to be placed in an escrow account.
  • Keep Records
    • Keep all paper work, including copies of insurance certificates.
    • Keep a log to document calls and conversations with the contractor.
    • Keep a journal of activities including payments.

The Completed Project

Before making your last payment, check the work for the following:

  • The work meets the specifications of the contract;
  • The contractor has provided you with written warranties for the materials and workmanship;
  • The contractor shows you proof that the sub-contractors and supplies are paid for;
  • The work area has been cleaned;
  • You are fully satisfied with the completed job.

Home Improvement Contracts

View and print a suggested contract legally binding in NYS

Home improvement contracts must be:

  • Written;
  • Understood by the consumer;
  • Given to the consumer before the work begins.

The contract must contain:

  • The contractor’s name, address and a permanent telephone number;
  • The approximate start and completion dates;
  • Specific description of the work materials;
  • Notice of three day cancellation;
  • Payment schedule.

The contract should contain:

  • All oral promises should be written into the contract; and
  • A broom clause (makes the contractor responsible for cleaning up when the job is completed).