House and Home

Ask the Contractor: Do I Need a Contract?

A star contractor gives his tips on putting together a solid contract.


Think you've found the perfect contractor to do your renovation? No matter how many good recommendations he might have, you should always have a contract that protects you. But where do you get a contract, and how can you ensure it's inclusive of everything?  

We asked Stephen Fanuka, host of "Million Dollar Contractor," for his tips on writing up a comprehensive contract for your home renovation. 

Instead of hiring a lawyer to draw up a custom contract, Fanuka suggests buying a standard AIA contract online for $19.95. Widely used among industry professionals, this contract is very inclusive. It's also customizable, allowing for additional riders and "fill-in-the-blanks," as Fanuka calls them.

In terms of payment, Fanuka says the client should be prepared to put down a deposit of 25 percent of the projected cost of the renovation. To organize subsequent payments, the client should purchase a supplementary form called the AIA requisition form for $4.95. This form lists all of the work being done alongside the percentage of work complete. Each week, the contractor can present the form to the client, billing the client for the amount of work accomplished.