Contracting for Home Improvements

Contracting for home improvements and storm repairs can pose many difficult problems if homeowner’s are not careful.

Find a Reputable & Reliable Contractor
  • Ask to see the contractor’s registered or certified license
  • Note the license number and check with the Department of Business and Professional Regulations ( or 850-487-1395) to verify that the license is current and active)
  • Ask for references of persons for whom the contractor has done work and check them out
Before Signing the Contract
  • Read it carefully
  • Fill in all the spaces
  • Consult your insurance agent to determine if the repairs are covered by your policy and verify the proper procedure you must follow to ensure payment of a claim
Be sure your contract includes:
  • Contractor’s name, address, telephone number and professional license number
  • Detailed description of work to be completed and the quality and type of materials to be supplied
  • A complete list of companies or individuals supplying the contractor with labor or materials
  • The total cost and a payment schedule tied to the completion of various stages of the project
  • Any financing information that is required by law or that is part of the transaction
  • Any warranty agreements
  • A commencement and completion date
  • An agreement regarding site cleanup and debris disposal
  • A notice of the consumer’s rights under the Construction Industry Recovery Fund
Canceling a Contract
Some home improvement or repair contracts may be cancelled without penalty or obligation by midnight of the 3rd business day after signing.

These contracts include:
  • Agreements signed anywhere other than the seller’s normal place of business, unless you have requested the specific goods or services
  • Agreements resulting from door-to-door sales solicitation
  • Agreements that will pay on an installment basis for more than 90 days
It is important to note that emergency home repairs, made at the owner’s request, are not subject to cancellation under the 3-day rule. To protect yourself, consult an attorney.

Some Final Advice
  • Avoid any contractor who requires a large advance payment. Agree to pay after the work is completed or by regular progress payment
  • Do not sign any type of completion certificate until all work is completed to your satisfaction
  • Do not pay in cash
If your contract exceeds $2,500, become familiar with the Florida Construction Lien Law. A notarized release of lien will help ensure that you will not have to face double payments or possible loss of your property to unpaid workers or material suppliers.