When you hire someone for skilled labor around your home, a written contract is a must!
That’s especially true dealing with something as important as your home’s foundation. A mistake or oversight can have serious consequences and require work to be redone.
A formal contract is the best way to protect your investment and your interests.
Of course, most people looking for foundation repair are first-time customers. No one ever tells you what you should watch out for when it comes to a foundation repair contract – because odds are you’ll only ever need to look at one.
So, let’s go over the facts on contracts for foundation repair in Houston, Texas.
Before You Get a Contract, Expect an On-Site Inspection
A good contractor will insist on an on-site inspection before they get started on the contract. There is no way to figure out what’s going on with a foundation based on descriptions alone.
An on-site inspection will clarify the situation. In less than an hour, an experienced contractor will usually be able to develop a plan of action and start answering any questions.
This is essential because the symptoms homeowners notice – like foundation cracks – don’t give much detail about the root of the issue. The whole structure and its surroundings must be taken into account.
Between the inspection and the contract, be sure to ask questions you have about the team you’ll be working with. Check that they have been in business long enough to handle your needs, have good reviews, and are recognized by the Better Business Bureau.
What You Should Expect from Your Foundation Repair Contract
The contract for a foundation repair job is similar to those you’d see for other home projects. It is there to outline the responsibilities of each party and protect you from the unexpected.
Review your contract and look for all of the following:
1. Complete Cost Estimate
First and foremost, costs should be spelled out in detail. Just because it’s called an estimate, that doesn’t mean it will be vague! Costs aren’t always itemized down to the cent, but you can ask.
In addition to costs, it should be clear when and how payments are made. In Houston, many contractors have retired the concept of “good faith payments” and accept cash on completion.
If you’re getting financing through your contractor, any details you need to know should be included here, too.
2. Timeframe of Work
After cost, the timeframe is the biggest question on homeowners’ minds – and for good reason. Foundation repair is sometimes an intensive process and might take several days of work.
The timeframe of your project depends on many factors, including the extent of the damage, tools, and techniques to be used, weather, and whether the property is easy for workers to access. If you’re on a tight timeline, tell your contractor early on.
3. Contingencies for Time Overruns
What happens if the project takes longer than expected? Although most projects should be delivered on time, there may be factors no one can control. What you want to look out for here is that you will not be on the hook for charges you would not normally agree to.
4. Contingencies for Additional Charges
Speaking of which, is there any situation that could raise the cost of your project after it starts? Every contingency needs to be spelled out in terms you understand and agree with.
Yes, it is possible to get started on a job only to learn that the foundation damage is more severe than originally thought. However, this happens in only a small fraction of cases.
5. Complete Scope of Work
What will be done and how? Your scope of work tells you in detail. By spelling out exactly what you’re getting, it provides documentation you might need later. For example, you might present this information to an insurer or a future homebuyer.
6. Warranties or Guarantees
The availability of warranties and guarantees differs depending on the work and materials involved. There is no single standard across the whole foundation repair industry, especially since every situation is different.
That said, experienced contractors will always stand by their work.
Once again, it’s crucial to ask any questions you think of. Once you receive your contract, you usually have anywhere from 2-4 weeks to examine and return it. The time limit is so the company can schedule and staff its future projects.
This gives you plenty of time to look for a second opinion – asking a lawyer or other expert to go over the contract or even getting an estimate from another company. The choice is always yours.
At Allied Foundation, our commitment to quality and customer service has made us Houston’s leaders in foundation repair since 1982.