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Dealing with subcontractors

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Published On : 02-26-2005
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I know many of you who are looking at our house plans are probably wanting to general contract your own home.  I have written several articles on why not to do that, but some of you will do it anyway.  For those of you who like that kind of stress, let me give you a few hints when it comes to working with subcontractors.

NEVER pay any sub-contractor up front money. When the job is finished, DO NOT just accept the sub-contractors word "I'm finished" INSPECT IT (twice) to make sure it is finished, and then pay them.

VERY IMPORTANT: Require ALL Sub-contractors to sign a Mechanic Lien Release (or lien waiver) form, showing that you have paid them in full. Your local title company probably has a pre-written form.

Find the right sub-contractor. How?
-NEVER hire a relative, even distance relatives.
-Ask for references.
-Go to other people and ask about the sub-contractor and inspect the work.

Before hiring a sub-contractor let them know up front that you expect and require quality workmanship and be firm on this. Also let them know that the home will be inspected by the mortage company and the home must meet codes.  Also hold back a retainage fee until after their work has been inspected.  As general contractors, we are a little more loose with our subcontractors, that is due to the fact that we usually have several projects going at one time and it is always easy to withold payment on another project.  As a homeowner builder you do not have this luxury.  Your payment is your only power.   This should help you to eliminate fly by night sub-contractors.  Be careful, there are many.


Happy house plan Hunting.

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