I hate to get beat up like that....
Yup there are some good points there but...
Making life easy was never said....if it was easy anyone could do it...and they do.
Hiring a Professional contractor, is different.
One with a professional organization like NARI or NHAB helps. These folks have standards to follow to join.
Great references...see the work and talk to past customers...face to face. More than one.
Check better business bureau or department of consumer protection in your state for any problems.
Have your Attorney read the contract....always.
Most of all ...check 3 or 4 contractors out if you do not trust one. Most know who has the reputations in town. Talk to the building inspector also to see if there are any issues around.
The problem with the lien waver is if you have a reputable contractor...if they are a good business they won't sign a waiver, they will have no way to collect if YOU are the bad customer. Don't forget there are shady customers , any good contractor will have a screening process to see if you are legitimate and they will ask money questions. Better to have it in the open.
Always keep a great line of communication open...if you call and don't get a response that day....forget em.
Let's not forget that the good contractors are doing this as a way to make a living...just like you going to work, you want to be paid at the end of the week. If they don't pay you, you want a way to get their attention.
Imagine going to work and they tell you to sign a piece of paper so if they don't pay you this week...you have no chance of seeing that paycheck without a lawyer getting half. No way.
Yes there are good contractors out there.
Yes you have to do your homework...its a large chunk of your life being invested.
Yes they "will" cost more than the others. You get what you pay for.(if you did your homework)Plus it is cheaper to have a great job done the first time, in piece of mind and money.
Last...a great job has plenty of resale value. I know ..I'm a home inspector.
Kgdonna is correct in holding your money until something is finished according to contracts. The most important thing is to always have a good relationship with your contractor by, keepin it real and good solid communication. There will always be something that happens but a good guy will be on top of it...no questions asked.
Keepin the job clean.