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After researching and finding the right contractor for your project, it is easy to just rush through the hiring process and get started. However, properly creating and having both parties sign a contract is extremely important. A contract can not only protect you in the event that something goes wrong during a project, but it also can provide a clear set of expectations for the project.
It is extremely important to have both parties sign a written contract before the work begins. Contract requirements can vary by the state so even if your state does not require a contract you should ask for one. This contract should be clear, concise, and detailed. When considering a contract you should make sure it contains:
It is recommended by the Federal Trade Commission that you should not pay a contractor in cash. If a contractor is asking for payment in cash they may not be as reputable as one who has other payment options. While it may not apply to everyone, contractors that ask for payment in cash instead of other forms could be using your payment for other things besides the project. For a larger project you may want to arrange a financing option.
One way to help limit the risk in hiring a contractor is limiting the down payment. Some states limit the amount of money that a contractor can request, to find out what your local laws are you can contact your state or local consumer agency. Another way you can limit some of the risk is to add a clause into the contract making the payments contingent upon completing defined amounts of work. This will provide an incentive to the contractor to complete the work on time and with good quality.