Contracts Are A No Brainer...
"I've done this for a long time, I don't need a contract, I am strictly a handshake kind of person." If you read that with a middle aged persons voice, you aren't alone. Don't get me wrong, I wish peoples memories were infallible, and communication was always so detailed and thorough prior to that handshake, there was no need for any writing...This is often not the case. In fact, not having anything in writing is often preparing the project for miscommunication, lack of accountability, confusion, and an overall worse experience for both client, and contractor. Now if you're thinking "well I've done this for over 25 years and have never had an issue the way I do it"... I would say you might be lying to yourself. I would also say if you keep reading, the worst thing that will happen is you learn something.
What is a Contract? In simple terms, it is an agreement. It does not need to be complicated, or fancy. In my opinion, the simpler, the better. A contract is not a sign of distrust, it's more an invitation for trust. For renovations, contracts are often used to define the scope of the project, define what services are being provided, provide transparency around pricing, payments and deposits, and make sure everyone involved is on the same page. Once a contract is given to a client to sign, its a point of reference that protects both the client and the contractor from miscommunication. If something changes in the project, add it to the scope of the contract and have the contract re signed or agreed through another means. Yes this takes communication and effort. It involves transparency, and it holds everyone accountable. Someone who hides from effort, accountability, and transparency... is probably someone you don't want to be engaging in business with (I will let you decide).
Get a contract, and elevate your experience you provide.