Michael Stone of Markup & Profit Revisited analyzes the June 2016 issue of Consumer Reports that advises homeowners on what to do before hiring a contractor. While Stone says that much of the advice is good, there are some errors. Here just a few of the flawed pieces of advice that Stone points out:

  1. Always Negotiate: Consumer Reports says that you should always find a contractor willing to negotiate. However, Stone says that you shouldn’t trust a contractor who is willing to lower their price. If you work with a contractor that negotiates Stone says, "it means they didn’t quote me a fair price in the first place. What else are they doing that’s not trustworthy?”
  2. Use Online Services to Find a Contractor: Stone says this is another flawed piece of advice because you can often find the best professionals in your area via a quick Google search. These professionals will have sites that display photos of their work. Sites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and Porch will have contractors “who either pay for the lead or pay to advertise… Think of online services as another advertising outlet, not a source of quality contractors.”
  3. Include a Penalty Fee in the Contract if the Completion Date Isn’t Met: Some will argue that if you offer a bonus for a completion date then contractors will rush to complete a job unfinished simply for the bonus. Stone doesn't agree and says you should only include a penalty fee so long as you also include a bonus. It's just good practice, he says.

For more of Stone's take on how homeowners should select the best contractor for the job, click below.

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