Craftsman Book Company

  • Down Payments on Residential Jobs

    Nine states place limits or impose restrictions on advance payments for some types of residential construction. If you have jobs in any of these nine states, you walk a fine line when asking for a down payment: Arizona, California, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada (pools only) Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

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  • A.I.A. Construction Contracts: Beware

    What’s wrong with A.I.A. contracts? Nothing, unless you’re a construction contractor. I’ll explain.

    The A.I.A. published their first “standard” construction contract in 1888. As a construction contractor, you’ve probably seen several A.I.A. contracts. Go to the A.I.A. site and you’ll discover that A.I.A. contracts are “accepted, reliable, fair and flexible.” Fine. But here’s what the A.I.A. doesn’t explain. A.I.A. construction contracts don’t comply with either state or federal disclosure law. In most states and for most jobs, a contractor who works under an A.I.A. contract risks serious legal trouble.

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  • Change Orders: Get Paid for Extra Work

    Has there ever been a construction project that didn’t require at least one change?

    A contractor can go an entire career without seeing a job like that. And for good reason. Construction is too permanent and too expensive to resist making a change when the need is obvious. Take this as carved in granite: Changes are endemic to construction. That’s not going to change. Accept it. Welcome it! Changes should be a profit center for construction contractors. I’ll offer seven rules designed to make that happen.

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  • Time and Materials Home Improvement Contracts

    Many home improvement contractors prefer to work under time and material (cost-plus) contracts. And for good reason. Surprises are common when remodeling or repairing an existing dwelling. With a cost-plus contract, a contractor doesn't have to absorb the loss if there's a surprise once work gets started.

    But there's a problem. Six states require that home improvement contracts show a total cost for the work in dollars and cents:

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  • Home Improvement Contracting in Indiana

     

    All states tip the playing field in favor of property owners who contract for residential work. Nearly every state requires very specific notices and disclosures in residential construction contracts. Even the slightest defect in an agreement can have consequences – fines, revocation of a license, charges for attorney fees, no right to collect or even jail time. All of these penalties fall on the contractor. The property owner gets a free ride.

     

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  • Contracting in D.C. -- The Home Solicitation Sales Notice

    Not many residential contractors think of themselves as door-to-door salespeople. But the law in most states puts nearly all residential contractors in the home solicitation sales business.

    "So what," you say. "I'm not doing anything shady. I deliver real value and have nothing but satisfied customers."

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  • Construction Contracting in Maine

    The legislature in Augusta has earned a reputation for piling on law that affects construction contractors. This month's Maine Supreme Court decision in Cellar Dwellers, Inc. v. Dominic D'Alessio, Jr. (2010 ME 32) illustrates the point.

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  • Construction Subcontract Flow-Down

    Every construction contractor and subcontractor has heard the term flow-down. A few probably feel they were washed away by flow-down. I don’t think that’s necessary and will suggest a better way.

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  • 3-Day Right to Cancel – Contractors Beware

     

    Every contractor who does residential work knows about a home owner's three-day right to cancel. But what you may not know is how vicious this innocuous little form can be. Here's a short quiz to test your understanding. Answers are below.

     

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  • Changes in Minnesota Construction Contracts

     

    Every contractor who builds, repairs or remodels homes or apartments in Minnesota knows about One, Two, Ten.

     

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