Part 2 of 2

Return to Part 1 of "On Hiring Home Repair Help...


By having a good contract, you have established the rules by which your project will be done.  You and the contractor now have a framework to do business.  However, "stuff" happens and you may find that the contract may need to be flexed a little to keep the wheels of progress turning.

Ever hear the expression, "Money is power"?  This should be your mantra in dealing with a home improvement contractor.  By knowing how your money is being spent and by controlling the flow of money from your pocket to his you control the job.  So a few simple rules to keep the power in your pocket...


When I first sent this article to my editor/agent Lin Erickson, this last section did not exist.  Her first response to this article was, "This is an excellent piece of work... but I believe you have ended this article on a very anti-contractor note."

And, as is almost always the case, she's absolutely right!  I have been personally involved in hundreds of homeowner nightmares involving contractors who were irresponsible, lazy, or just downright dishonest.  And so from my perspective it is very easy to get into a negative jag when it comes to this topic.

Still, the undeniable fact is that the vast majority of contractors are hardworking, quality craftsmen and businessmen who are trying their best to live up to the expectations of their clients.  They must take responsibility for materials that arrive late or are defective, subcontractors that don't show up on time or do low quality work, laborers who become ill (or decide to live off you and me via unemployment), the whims of Mother Nature and Big Brother, and Lord knows what other unexpected events.  They must act like politicians in dealing with the local building inspector, psychologists when dealing with a displaced and inconvenienced homeowner and still, through all this, keep a positive attitude. Or at least try!

I made a personal decision years ago to not enter the contractor fray and instead slide into the somewhat less complicated world of the handyman.  I have nothing but respect for the men and women who each and every day improve the lives and homes of the folks they work for.  And you should too.

Back to Part 1

Read our companion article: "Hire a handyman and never have to say you're sorry…"