Let’s start this column with advice from reader Sharon Garcia of St. Davids, Pa.:
“I just read the question posed by the person with the brown stain buildup everywhere in the dishwasher.
“I had this problem for many years, and discovered that the only thing that would make the brown go away was Tang drink mix in the soap dispenser.. ...
“I always ran it on hot without dishes when the buildup got bad. I also would open it during the rinse cycle and add some more.”
Question: “We have a bid to renovate a bathroom from a contractor we like and who comes recommended.
“He has said he can reduce the bid by $400 if we pay in cash. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on dos and don’ts when paying in cash. “
Answer: There are a couple of things working in your favor. The first is that you like the contractor; the second is that he comes recommended.
You need a contract in any case, and you should not give him all of it up front.
The best way is to agree contractually to release an agreed-upon amount periodically for work completed to your satisfaction, with the largest payment to come at completion of all the work.
Make sure you get a receipt for the amount you provide. If he uses subcontractors and he wasn’t on the up and up, he might tell them you didn’t pay him and they could put a mechanic’s lien on your house for the amount he owes them, or not finish the work.
If you are still feeling a bit on edge about this, have a lawyer look over the agreement you are negotiating .E-mail Alan J. Heavens at email@example.com. Volume prohibits individual replies.