How to Decide Whether to Hire an Attorney - The Contractor
Here is a very simple piece of advice: a contractor should ALWAYS have an attorney review his or her contract. The reason for this is simple. Contractors are in business, and they need to protect themselves. There are so many factors to consider that even if a contractor has a good resource for buying a contract (The Journal of Light Construction, for example) there may be some items of importance missing.
In addition, more states are passing home improvement contractor statutes that impose serious burdens on contractors. In Massachusetts, the requirements for the contract alone are extensive, and if a contractor does not comply with the law, then he is automatically violating the consumer protection statute, which could entitle the homeowner to double or treble damages, attorney's fees, interest and costs.
One common scenario is when a contractor sues a homeowner for nonpayment. The homeowner then counterclaims (counter-sues) and invariably the contract will have some required clauses missing. The contractor is then the party who is now in danger of losing the claim and the homeowner may be awarded multiple damages.
When one considers the cost of having an attorney review a contract, it is insignificant compared to the risk of not being protected by a comprehensive contract. It should just be viewed as one of the costs of doing business.