10 Ways To Work Better With Your Contractor

After weeks of researching, interviews and estimates, you’ve found “the one” - the perfect general contractor to make your remodeling project a reality.

Now he, his equipment and crew of trades move in. Literally. Things start getting messy. And your new relationship is put to the test. If this sounds like a marriage, that’s because in a way, it is. And if you’re going to make this one work, you’ve got to work together.

Here are some things you can do as a homeowner and client, to make both your relationship and your remodel a success.

1.  Be Realistic With Your Expectations

Unlike some of the DIY competition shows we see on television, home remodeling projects generally take more than a weekend. Your contractor’s goal is to set a schedule that allows the project to be done properly, not to win a contest.

If you have an event such as visiting relatives or a vacation that might impact your remodeling schedule, let your contractor know before the project begins.

Also, while your contractor might be a genius, there are some things even he can’t do… like making your basement ceiling higher, or installing a sunken tub, as part of your bathroom remodeling project, without enough floor clearance.

Know the limitations of the home you’re remodeling. While “no” isn’t what you like to hear, if your contractor nixes your request, he’s doing it for a reason. So don’t blame him for something that can’t be controlled.

2.  Remember Respect Is A Two-Way Street

As the client, you expect your contractor to treat you respectfully. As the professional you’ve entrusted with your project, your contractor deserves your respect as well.

Besides, it never hurts to be nice – especially to someone who is about to take a sledgehammer to your kitchen wall.

3.  Once You’ve Approved A Plan Stay With It

Your remodeling plan is a contract of sorts. It’s the direction you and your contractor have agreed to take with your project. It’s what he uses to determine your project’s schedule, staffing, materials and budget.

If you decide to change the plan, any or all of those things can change as a result. Which makes more work for your contractor, and usually more cost for you.

4.  Recognize That A Remodel Means Reorganizing Your Life… At Least For A While

Plan ahead to live without the space where your contractor and his crew will be working. Move needed items so that you can get to them without getting in the way.

If you have concerns about access to things like water or a stove during a kitchen remodeling project, discuss them with your contractor before the work begins. Depending on your project and scope, he might be able to make temporary solutions available.

5.  Remember That Extra Requests Mean Extra Cost

If you have a request that is outside of the scope of your project, like a side job you’d like done while the electrician is on site, be sure to communicate it to your contractor early, so that he can include it in the budget.

Bringing up that side job on the spot isn’t going to get you that extra work for free – it’s going get you an extra bill. And extra frustration for your contractor.

6.  Communicate Regularly And Often

Good communication is the cornerstone of a solid contractor-client relationship. Be sure you and your contractor talk about the area of your home in which his crew will need to work, the hours they will be working, and whom he can call for an emergency or a quick answer.

Also, touch base daily so that everyone understands how the project is progressing, what approvals might be needed and whether any issues are arising. Email or text is a good way to keep a record of communication, but a quick, on-site conversation can also save a lot of typing.

7.  However, Limit The Business Communication To Business Hours

While your contractor wants to hear from you, he’d rather you not call him at night. While it might be convenient for you to call him after your kids are in bed, remember that he might have a family too.

8.  If There’s A Problem, Speak Up… Politely

If you don’t like the way something is developing on your project, the time to say so is when you see it. However, that doesn’t mean pointing it out to your contractor by shouting at him in front of his crew.

Use your indoor voice, and ask to speak to him privately. Describe your issue, without pointing fingers. Then give him the chance to solve it. Because neither of you wants to fix a problem at the expense of your relationship.

9.  Keep Kids And Pets Clear Of The Remodeling Site

They may be cute, but let loose on a remodeling site, they’re trouble. Your contractor is responsible for maintaining a safe work site, and kids and pets are a distraction that can be dangerous to everyone on that site – including them.

10. You Expect Your Contractor To Deliver On Time, So Pay On Time

No contractor wants to go through the time and hassle of having to remind clients to pay their bills. So don’t be that client. The clients that contractors are more likely to go the extra step for are the ones who pay on time.

By using these tips, you can make your remodeling “marriage” work better. And get better work from your contractor.

If you’re still looking for that perfect contractor to partner with for your project, contact your local ProSource Showroom for reliable recommendations. Because the best remodeling projects are built on solid relationships.

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