Tribal Resource Center

NDN Collective Community Action Fund Grants Due in October

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Local assistance and tribal consistency fund deadline October 31

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2022 Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) 10/24-10/28

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National Tribal Broadband Grant (NTBG) Deadline October 17th

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Indigenous Communities Program Funding application due 9/30

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Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Application Due September 30

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Financing mechanisms for locally-owned internet infrastructure report webinar 9/22

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NTTA Tribal Broadband Summit 9/19-9/20

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Capital Projects Fund application directions (deadline extended)

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Contact TRC Help Desk

Working with Contractors

Tips for hiring contractors:

  • Search for local contractors or if you want to hire Native Americans, click here.
  • Call contractors. When speaking, be aware of the following:
    • Do they answer the phone professionally?
    • Do they speak to you with respect?
    • Do they listen to what you want to accomplish, or do they tell you what they think you should do?
    • Do they seem interested in and excited by your project?
    • Do they answer your questions directly, or do they give you the run-around?
  • Important questions to ask during your first call:
    • Are they licensed?
    • Do they have insurance and what kind of coverage do they have?
    • Have they completed similar jobs to yours before?
    • Do they have a list of references you can contact? 
    • When will they be able to start the job?
    • Will they provide you with a detailed contract once you have both agreed to the terms of the project?
  • When you meet with contractors, be sure to ask:
    • How long has their company been in business?
    • What is their permanent business address?
    • Are they licensed to work in your area? How long have they been licensed?
    • Can they provide proof of insurance?
    • Will your project require permits?
    • How many projects like yours have they completed in the past year?
    • Can they provide you with a quote and any reasoning for price?
    • What do their payment schedules typically look like and are they willing to be flexible?
  • When negotiating price and payment, know that here are no industry standards for specific amounts on payment plans; every contractor will be different. However, here are two basic payment options:
    • Cost plus flat fee: The contractor will charge an agreed upon management and coordination fee (usually 13%-20%) plus actual cost of the project. The contract will lay out the estimated costs at each stage. This should closely match the total actual cost unless there are unforeseen circumstances, and it should be stated in your contract that your contractor will provide you with all receipts and accounting at regular intervals. This option allows for tons of flexibility, but it is much more difficult to estimate the final cost.
    • Bid basis: You and your contractor draw up a budget for the entire project and agree upon a payment schedule, all of which will be in your contract. If you have a budget, this is the more attractive option.
    • Do not ever pay cash.
  • When drawing out your contract, be sure to detail the following:
    • Contact information of your contractor such as name, physical address (you cannot serve a subpoena without a physical address), phone number, insurance company, and account and license numbers.
    • The project’s start date and end date, or its start date and the length of time until completion.
    • Your payment and financing plan.
    • A detailed schedule of the stages of the project
    • A detailed list of all required materials, who will choose them, and how much will be budgeted for them if they are chosen at a later date.
    • A guarantee that the contractor will file for all necessary permits.
    • Potential time conflicts from other projects the contractor may be working on.
    • Change order provisions. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances happen, this may change the project schedule and cost. Change order provisions lay out what additional work may be done, what it will cost, and how it will affect the date of completion.
    • All the names of the workers that will be on site and the start and end time of their work day.
    • Names of companies your contractor will subcontract from.
    • Names of suppliers.
    • All information about warranties and who will be covering them.
    • A “broom clause” that holds the contractor responsible for all clean-up including unforeseen messes.
    • termination clause. A good termination clause needs to include detailed information as to what factors can play a role in ceasing the project altogether, and any costs or consequences of termination for the homeowner and contractor.
  • During the project, you should keep detailed records and accounts to make sure the contract you both agreed on is being upheld. Take photographs of the work in case you need evidence of wrongdoing or contract discrepancies. Keep physical copies of the contract and of all change orders that happen during your project. Write down any verbal correspondence you have with your contractor wherein you may have agreed upon things that weren’t laid out in the contract. Organize physical copies of payment receipts.
  • Establish good communication. Meet with the project leader regularly. This is an opportunity for you to hear progress reports and find out what work is scheduled. Ask your questions and voice any concerns you have.
  • Before you give your contractor your final payment and sign completion according to contract, make sure all details are completed. Some items to put on your checklist:
  • If needed, obtain proof that everyone who worked on the project was paid. This is important because laws in some states allow subcontractors who weren’t paid by your contractor to sue you for payment. To avoid this, you will want to ask every contractor, subcontractor, and supplier who worked on your project for a lien release or a lien waiver.
  • Keep details and maps of where everything is, this will make troubleshooting easier in the future

For the Recommendations for Improving Required Tribal Engagement Between Covered Providers and Tribal Governments Report to the Federal Communications Commission from the Tribal Members of the Task Force, click here.

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