Any contractor or subcontractor who works on your house should be bonded, licensed, and insured properly according to state and local standards. Insurance can help protect you if your home gets damaged during construction or workers are hurt on site, while hiring a bonded contractor can help protect you if the contractor fails to pay workers, doesn't pay for permits, or doesn't finish the work. Here's more on how to do your research.
We’ve had a number of contractors to our house for a number of items from roof tear off & redo, to gutters and corner boards, whole-house carpet replacement and a basement completion. We know the lingo and the big picture but - whether it’s the timing or the unknown - this has been the most frustrating process ever! If you find a nuts & bolts, studs to baseboards and crown-molding to carpet contractor you can trust, consider yourself one of the lucky 10 across the country. The rest of us are stuck in the wild-west and unfortunately left with an article that’s not even worth updating over the past 2+ years.
As you might imagine, I once had to sue a contractor. He demanded payments up front during different stages of work replacing a roof and front porch on my house. When he wanted to cheap out and use inferior materials, i insisted he do the job to specifications I had provided to him in writing beforehand. He walked away from the job, half completed, and I had to hire someone else to finish it. I recovered most, but not all, of the money he had stolen.
Bathroom remodels provide 60 to 70 percent resale returns as a home improvement project. However, this project isn’t cheap. It is essential to plan your remodeling ideas ahead of time. Then, hire a remodeling contractor for the job. Ask questions, set realistic expectations, get accurate cost estimates and budgeting from the start. Also spend time learning how to work with a bathroom contractor.
The remodel is needed due to water leakage from the tub surround into the wall cavity. I recommended she get an estimate of extra costs that cannot be foreseen until demolition occurs but would be entailed if the contractor has to do any structural work like putting in new studs and or has to install new insulation. I urged her to get at least an upper ceiling estimate before work begins lest the contractor make her an offer she can't refuse once the room is gutted. I urged her to be flexible on any adjustment to the estimate that can be made only after demolition begins. But I told her to insist that the rest of the estimate be binding. No surprises.
As a contractor I can tell you that most reputable contractors probably don't need your job, and if you make things too complicated or troublesome, they will move on to other jobs that don't throw up red flags. Much of what you ask for here is reasonable, but bringing a second contract into the equation can set of some alarms that you may be a difficult customer to work with or even a litigiously minded person who is likely to try and bring a lawsuit whether deserved or not. Anything you want covered should be in the original contract.
The average cost to gut and demolish a bathroom is $400 to $2,000. Prices depend on the room size, type of materials, which fixtures are being removed, if walls are being demolished, and if any damage is found in the subflooring or inner wall structure. You can DIY to save money, but hire a professional to inspect your electrical wiring and plumbing.
Having an onsite dumpster should be your responsibility if it is something you are going to demand. They aren't cheap. Make suggestions or request a dumpster be included in the bid, but I would never start demanding anything when requesting proposals. They may have their own suggestions. We own a dump trailer and we bring it during demolition to handle the large debris. We have the trailer to avoid having to rent a dumpster on the job. If asked we can share this information, but if you require a dumpster instead we would have to take the time and research getting a dumpster to your house and add in costs we aren't accustomed to adding. That takes time and effort we may just not want to expend to give you a quote. Good contractors are generally very busy.
Everyone wants to save money, but when you start by questioning material costs or markups it can indicate that you may be under budgeting for the project, or will question every choice the contractor makes in the hopes of saving $100. Time is money and when you have a customer who may cause interruptions because they want to buy something themselves to avoid "markup" it can cause major delays. Many times a customer ends up getting the wrong material anyway. This again slows down a contractor that may already be too busy.
If someone was to come at us with their own additional contract, we would probably decide that we had given them enough of our time and move on. As Nick mentions below, the contractors reputation is the one on the line. They have every reason to do right by you. The crooks of the world generally don't have a reputation to stand on, and as a customer it is your job to research who you are hiring. If you can't find anything about them, they probably aren't who you want to be dealing with. If they ask for money upfront, they probably aren't running a stable outfit. We never take a penny upfront. We collect when the job is fully complete even when we are working on weeks long projects.
My suggestion is when talking to contractor be subtle and ask your questions. Ask if he/she will have a dumpster or trailer to haul away debris. If the don't get dumpster or have a trailer then you probably don't want them to work on your home. Tell them your concern with the only toilet in the house. Unless it is not safe I have always reinstalled the toilet so it could be used at night. A good contractor will work with you in anyway possible because you are the key to more business.