Starting The Process

  • Establish your project; determine your wish list then determine the essentials.

  • Establish your budget; determine a realistic budget that you can afford. Larger projects are typically financed through a bank. Payouts are determined by work completed. The discussion regarding how the project will be financed is crucial and should be conveyed to the contractor.

  • Establish a schedule; determine the best time for the project. Remember that you will be inconvenienced during the construction and you may need to keep yourself available during decision making time. A vacation is not a good time during construction

  • Choose your contractor.


Choose Wisely

Inquire if the contractor works closely with an architect and a designer. This is very valuable to help in the success of the project.

Insurance – The following types are necessary:

  • Workman’s Compensation – This protects you from workers injuries.
  • Contractor's Liability – This protects you from damage or injury by workers.
  • License Bonding is required by most villages – This protects the village from damage to property.
  • Ask to see a certificate of insurance or have a copy on hand for your records.

Contracts – Look for the following items:

  • Detailed written contracts, including: materials, manufacturers, colors, sizes, etc.
  • Determine a start and estimated finish dates, allowances, workmanship warranty.
  • Determine a payment plan and total price.
  • Changes to contracts or scope of work including extras should be done by change order, in writing and with price changes.


  • Contractors should be licensed in your town. Keep in mind that towns usually only require insurance and bonding as credentials for licenses. State licenses are only required for certain trades.
  • Licensed contractors should provide the permits.
  • Contractors should have a list of references and a list of current completed projects.

Payment Terms:

  • Payment schedules will vary by the size and type of job.
  • Be leery of big down payments. Generally 10% is adequate. Although custom size and special order items may require larger deposits.
  • Pay by check or get a written receipt. Make checks payable to the company on the contract only.

Ask Your Contractor:

  • Who will be my main contact on the project?
  • Who will supervise the project?
  • Will the supervisor be available to me even after work hours?
  • Will there be somebody on the job that can communicate at all times to the homeowner?