Mistakes may happen, but some are far more costly than others. In big home improvement construction projects, even small mistakes can cost big money. This makes it especially important to be vigilant to avoid pitfalls and mixups. While misjudgments can happen during a home improvement process, there are several larger issues to avoid before the project even begins.
Mistake 1: Hiring a Handyman Instead of a Contractor
Who you hire is one of the most important decisions for your project. While both handymen and pros offer home-related services, they have significantly different specializations. In many states, handymen should only accept repair projects that are less than $500 because they are not trained or licensed to do more in-depth work. While you might hire a handyman for generalized repairs, like hanging up a bathroom mirror or fixing a broken fence, it’s better to hire a licensed contractor for big projects such as remodeling, renovating, or building additions. This ensures your job is in the hands of someone who is equipped to take on the comprehensive aspects of your home improvement projects.
Mistake 2: Not Verifying the Contractor License Status
Before you choose a professional, it’s important to vet your contractors and ensure that all the necessary licenses are up to date. A contractor that has a state-issued license has rigorously studied rules and regulations to ensure a high standard of work. In the same way that you want a licensed doctor to perform surgery on you, you want to collaborate with qualified pros for your project. An unqualified contractor can cause more harm than good and becomes a liability for fines you will be responsible for. Hire a fully licensed contractor and avoid these risks.
Mistake 3: Not Reading the Contracts
Before you sign a contract, ensure that you read it carefully. It’s important to know exactly what is being signed and agreed upon so that you aren’t in a compromised position further down the road. Additionally, make sure that everything previously discussed is included in the contract in as much detail as possible. This step clears up any misinformation and, more importantly, provides a paper trail of official agreements.
Mistake 4: Paying Too Much for the Initial Deposit
While a deposit is to be expected, you don’t want to pay for most (or all) of the project upfront. In California, contractors cannot ask for a deposit of more than 10% of the total cost of the job or $1,000, whichever is less. One red flag is if the contractor asks for 50% or more of the payment upfront. Another good option is to pay for each phase as it is completed.
Mistake 5: Not Applying for Building Permits & Complying With Regulations
Imagine starting a large scale project like an ADU, putting a substantial amount of time and money into it, and then finding out your city or town has restrictions you didn’t meet. It’s important to do your homework ahead of time. In some cases, the city can demolish the work that was completed up to that point at your expense. Make sure you have your permits ahead of time and there aren’t any rules or ordinances that govern your project. Rules and regulations vary significantly from city to city, so be sure that you are focusing your research on local laws. If you are unsure of where to start, your contractor is a good source of information.
Mistake 6: Not Having a Timeline
It's important to set an end date and a reasonable timeline to give your project framework. Having a timeline associated with tasks, bigger phases, and the project as a whole sets clear expectations for you and your pro. If there is a time-critical event, such as a family gathering, it’s important to communicate this to your contractor upfront. Your Pro can tell you whether it’s reasonable for the entire project to get completed by then or whether it can be broken into phases to work around your schedule.
Mistake 7: Paying the final payment before the project is done
Some contractors might ask you to pay more before the task is done, which can add up over time. If the full payment comes through before the milestone or project is done, it enables the contractor to leave before the task is completed. In order to prevent this from happening, do not submit the final payment until the project is complete.
A Platform Made to Help You Avoid Mistakes
BEYREP’s key features guide you through these important steps of your project, keeping you informed and in control through the whole process. We vet all our Pros to ensure that they are licensed professionals capable of the abilities they advertise. Every feature on our platform is created to keep you and your Pro in sync, through open communication.
You and your Pro share a document file where all permits and important documents are safe, organized, and directly linked to your project. Our unique escrow-like payment system safeguards your payments and removes the need to haggle over down payments. Our estimate/contract layout prompts Pros to organize the project, include details, and add a timeline. Login to BEYREP experience a smooth project.