Don't sign a blank agreement form or make any cash advance payment. Consult
with a local lawyer familiar with construction contract law before finalizing
Visit the American Arbitration
Association web site. One of their "Focus Areas" is Construction and you may
want to incorporate their Construction Industry Dispute Resolution Procedures
into your contract. They provide a standard ADR Clause for your review and consideration.
Every situation is unique so Adapt-Modify this list to fit your situation
and the region in which you build! In the Pacific Northwest region, there's a
great way to initially determine if the individual or business is state-certified
for his or her trade by going right to the
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries web site to verify their
business is currently registered. Qualifying the right contractor for your project
is more complicated than merely confirming proper registration, but it's a decent
beginning point. Check out your state agency as well to see if it offers an online
Also, you'll definitely benefit from the advice of Barbara Ling in her ultimate
guide to "avoiding
the contractor from hell." After her harrowing experience with a shoddy
contractor she was inspired to write her wonderful, illuminating book indicating
all the red flags which may occur when you encounter a scam artist.
Tom interviews Bruce Wilkinson, General Manager of TRM
Wood Products. Mr. Wilkinson relies on 30 years
experience as a lumber supplier and shares with
consumers how best to work with a lumber yard to avoid
problems with unscrupulous contractors.
If you are able to personalize your relationship with
your suppliers, there will be mutual respect and understanding for the products
and materials required for your project.
Visit TRM Wood Products,
the lumber yard where I shop in our local neighborhood. I've developed a relationship
with the clerks behind the counter as well as the folks who work in the yard.
What's great about Lumbermen's Building Centers is their ability to work with
the professional and homeowner alike.
Homes to determine how they're organized to operate with consumers. Located
in Washington State, Lumbermen's Homes offers owner/build packages in a variety
of styles and sizes. Take a peek at their models and options! You'll want to find
a building component manufacturer in your area to make your project go smoother.
Your level of concern will be determined by how much you're spending: Are
you buying a bag of nails or $12,000 worth of appliances?
a supplier consider:
Is their location near your site?
Are you dealing directly with the manufacturer or distributor?
you limit the number of suppliers with whom you deal?
Are you able to open
a builder account?
What's the size of the company?
What's the condition
of the supplier's yard/warehouse/shop?
Can you sense turnover rate of sales
What is the quality range of products being sold in store?
type of warranty/guarantee is being offered?
Will installation instructions
be immediately available?
Who provides customer service: supplier or manufacturer?
Can unused material be returned for a credit?
How do costs compare to
Are discounts offered for early payments?
Does the supplier reference you to good installers?
the installers independent contractors or employees?
Who else shops at this
Who makes the delivery? Is there an extra charge?
What is the supplier's system for quality control?
standard form used by supplier with a purchase agreement written on the backside
in tiny print? What does it say?
If you're not sure what
terms fit your situation, discuss the issues with your supplier, then take
your time to weigh and consider the possibilities.
You must state your
terms clearly (and most times in writing) then assert your position at time of
purchase in the store as well as delivery at your site.
Visit the Better
Business Bureau web site. The Better Business Bureau provides instant access
to business and consumer alerts as well as helpful resources. Plus, you can file
a complaint online. This web site is provided by the Council of Better Business
Bureaus, Inc., and the BBB system of over 150 Bureaus located throughout the United
States and Canada.
As you negotiate with
contractors and suppliers, the terms of your agreements directly impact your project
work schedule and the flow of materials and products to your job site.
Quality Control of installation and worker's safety will often be based on the
"pace" of activities, the care and concern shown by all participants, and how
much time you're able to give to the details while still holding everyone accountable
for their work.