Lighting your home can add comfort and convenience and help make your space look bigger and brighter. Most of us have tried our hand at adding or changing out lighting – it’s easy to add lamps or change pendants. But when we need to add dimmers, fix electrical issues, add wiring or address unknown electrical issues, we start getting into technical areas that may require a professional. The wiring behind walls can often hide issues that we weren’t previously aware of , making it necessary to rip out walls or ceilings and adding to the overall scope and cost of a project. Before starting into a lighting project, it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or electrician who is skilled and can prepare an official contract for your project. A skilled lighting expert can advise you how to successfully light your home like a professional

. Before you start any renovations to the interior or exterior of your home, make sure you have a set plan of what you want to be done. A contract will act as your guideline for your lighting project, to ensure your remodel meets your standards.

What is a contract?

A contract is a document that legally binds two parties together by a written agreement. The point of a contract is to hold both parties involved responsible for all actions. It provides protection for you as the homeowner as well as the contractor themselves. A contract must be offered, accepted, and signed by you and your contractor in the case of your lighting project. Having a contract signed by your contractor will help you in case any legal actions must be made during the entirety of your remodel. It also serves as a paper trail, noting timelines, materials, exact scope of project and payment schedule.

What should a contract consist of?

If you decide to hire an electrician or lighting professional to help you with your project, your contractor should provide a quote or contract after your initial discussion about the project. This quote serves as a recap of what you asked to be done, the associated pricing, the expected completion dates and payment schedule. It’s important that this document is read thoroughly; any changes to be made should be written and sent back for revision.  If you decide to write a contract up yourself, local supply stores or online websites have templates for you to use. The following are some basic contract terms that should be included in your contract:

  • Contractor and business name, address, and all contact information
  • Professional license information, bonding and insurance (if this isn’t in the contract, ask to see a copy of each)
  • Project details from start to end, including who will be doing what and when
  • List of all materials that will be used for entire remodel (e.g., type, size, price)
  • Budgeting plan for equipment rental
  • Ordering, shipping, and handling anticipated costs and time length
  • Payment instructions and budget outline, fully itemized
  • Permits that have been obtained, if any are needed
  • Timeline of project including beginning, completion, and checkpoint dates
  • Proof that contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured
  • Cleanup work and waste disposal plan
  • Warranty information

Other aspects that should be outlined in your contract involve more detailed terms and conditions for your lighting project. When working with a contractor it’s important to address any damages or policies that the contractor’s company have. Some businesses require damage claims on goods to be reported within one week from the date of delivery.  Policies may pertain to bulbs, batteries, or other electrical wiring. It is possible that you will not be reimbursed for any broken or damaged bulbs, lamps, or fixtures during shipping. Warranties for your lighting fixtures are present most of the time and can be covered for a designated period of time, such as up to five years. But this is not always the case for all lighting companies and contractors, so understand what terms you’re agreeing to before you sign your contract.

Can a contract be changed or canceled?

Making changes or canceling your contract can be done if you follow the right steps. You have the option to submit a “Change Order” form, which is a signed document by the contractor to agree on the changes you make in your contract for your lighting project. Cancelling your contract can be more challenging than making any alterations. Make sure to read the fine print of all liability rules, terms, and conditions that apply. If you are unsure how to handle getting out of your lighting project contract, consult an attorney before moving forward.As a projected progresses, a change work order can be issued in writing – sometimes the pro does this, sometimes the homeowner does this. A change work order can be anything from changing the lighting fixture to be used, changing the type of wiring to be done, or indicating that more work needs to be done. Make sure you have clarity around any work order change. For example, if the professional decides that drywall needs to be ripped out, you’ll want to find out who will be doing the repair work and how much that will cost. Or if aluminum wiring is discovered, have in writing the exact scope of replacement and costs. Even seemingly small projects can go sideways so always get the work details on paper.


Top Image Credit: Linea LLP