Hiring the right contractor for your home renovation project

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It's the season for spring storms and for home renovations. That means more central Indiana homeowners will hire a contractor.

But do you know what you're doing?  An experienced contractor is giving you the do's and don'ts of hiring a contractor with his book, The Ultimate Guide to Hiring the Right Contractor.

"I decided I was going to write about how not to get scammed by a contractor. And that was the birthing of the book.  I wrote it in less than two weeks.  It was all in my head from what I've seen and heard over the years, and the next thing I know, it was a best seller on Amazon," said Sean King, author and home improvement expert.

King is a third generation contractor and now he's an author who is trying to help people stretch their dollar and make sure they do what's right.  And the word "R-I-G-H-T" is an acronym for his contractor advice.  The "R" stands for "REFERRAL."  Get a referral from those you know and trust.  The "I" is for "INVESTIGATE," which most consumers don't do!

"I've always told people to reach out to some of their previous customers.  Were they happy with the process? Do they love the finished product and would they hire the contractor again?" said King.

"G" stands for "GET it in writing."  Write down exactly what's to be expected, how much it'll cost and when it will be done.  That should include specific payment penalties for the contractor for every day they're late.

The "H" is "HAVE a voice and use it!"  The first sign your project is going sideways, you need to speak up, let your contractor know your concerns and they need to address them immediately.  Don't just hope it'll work out in the end.

Finally there's "T" for "TRUST your gut."  With more than 1,000 contractors available in Indianapolis, if it feels wrong during the interview process, find someone else.  Another tip is to not give all the money up front.  King says, don't even give half of it.

"There are many ways you can write a contract.  My suggestion is to give 10% down, 10% when you start and stage the payments.  It's critical you maintain at least 50% of the project costs back, hold that all back until they are 100% done.  Otherwise your project may never get finished," said King.

Finally, check contractors out online, especially their most recent reviews.