692: Hiring Contractors Without Going Through Hell by Ellis Levinson

by Gerard


692.8: Levinson, Ellis. Hiring Contractors Without Going Through Hell: How to Find, Hire, Supervise, and Pay professional Help for Home Renovations and Repairs. New York: Walker & Company, 1992. ISBN 0-8027-7381-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 690: Buildings
  • 692: Auxiliary construction practices
  • 692.8: Contracting

When you’re a homeowner, there are few things more daunting than the prospect of remodeling or house repairs. You can either go it yourself and invest a lot of time in YouTube videos and gumption, or you can rely on the services of contractors. Ellis Levinson’s Hiring Contractors Without Going Through Hell deals with the reality, and sometimes the surreality, of dealing with the latter situation. He uses humor and sometimes a fatherly hand to help guide the reader through a bevy of contractor-related scenarios.

Levinson’s advice is as thorough as it can get for an early-1990s help guide. You have to look past the dated references to writing to various local, state, and national bureaus for advice as well as directives to consult the Yellow Pages for phone numbers, and instead focus on how he advises the reader to deal with contractors in person. From little jobs to complete remodels, his advice on questions to ask, paperwork to gather, and angles to consider seems very spot on. I will add a note here that I have never been a homeowner, but am now renting my first house. Many things can and will breakdown in a house over time and having someone who can deal with contracting work well seems invaluable.

Granted, reading this book wouldn’t be my first move if I was ever considering hiring contractors, but it’s a very good resource to have in your back pocket for when you need it. An interesting and entertaining read.