ProSource | 4/25/2017 | Expert Advice
Remodeling projects aren’t completed in a day - something to consider when choosing a remodeling contractor. Unlike a repairman who spends an afternoon in your basement fixing your heater, your contractor (along with his or her foreman and subcontractors) will basically be moving in, for as long as your project takes. So you need to think of your remodeling project as a long-term relationship – one that goes beyond the budget estimate.
Before you invite a contractor to work in your home and around your family, take a page from the advice offered by dating services. Consider these five questions to make sure you’re hiring someone you can actually live with while your project is taking place.
Is this someone you can trust?
This is the most important relationship question. And the time to ask it is before you start a conversation with any contractor. Request recommendations from friends or other trusted sources.
You can start with the trade professional members at your local ProSource Wholesale Showroom – people they work with on a regular basis. Connect with your local ProSource for a list of contractor members in your area.
Once you decide to meet a contractor, listen to your gut and make sure what they tell you rings true. Tony LaPelusa, President of LaPelusa Home Improvements, Inc. in Niles, Illinois and past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, says, “If somebody says something that’s even an embellishment, it’s enough of a reason not to trust him and move on to the next contractor. You have to trust the contractor 100 percent, not 95 percent.”
Do your personalities fit well?
Here’s an example: If you’re someone who enjoys a quiet home, a big boisterous contractor will feel like an overpowering presence in your space. The same holds true for the foreman and subcontractors he or she hires.
If you’re comfortable with a contractor after the first meeting, ask to visit a site where he and his crew are currently working, so you can get a feel for the way the team functions together, and decide if you’d feel comfortable with their dynamic around your house.
Do you speak the same language?
During your project, you and your contractor are going to be having important conversations involving two significant relationship topics: your home and finances. Therefore, clear, open communication is essential. Studies show that similar communication styles contribute to compatibility.
For example, a 2010 Psychological Science study showed that speed daters who shared similar language styles were more likely to make it to a second date, and to be together three months later. If you don’t feel you can talk easily with your contractor at your first meeting, will you be able to successfully discuss any problems that might arise a few weeks into your project?
Are you on the same page financially?
If you’re a stickler for staying on budget, beware of a contractor who seems a bit loose with his or her figures. Just like in marriages, contractor/client disagreements about money can spell disaster. Make sure you both understand the limits of your budget, and the potential financial effects of any changes in project scope.
Do you share the same values?
You know what’s important to you and your family. If those things have an impact on your remodeling project (or vice versa), your contract needs to know and respect them too. This is a responsibility you both must share.
For example, if work will affect an area where pets or important family mementos are present, your contractor needs to let you know in advance. Then it’s your responsibility to move those precious items and family members to safety.
Remember, your remodeling contractor will become part of your home and family while your project is taking place. So treat this choice with the care any personal relationship deserves. As Tony LaPelusa advises, if a contractor leaves you feeling less than enthused, for any reason, that’s reason enough to hire someone else.
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