Many homeowners discover too late that simply hiring a contractor to do a job is not all that’s required to get good work and save money.
Here are five tips to help you understand your role during an improvement project, keep costs down and learn how to maximize the relationship with your contractor:
- Communicate. This is perhaps the most important element to developing a solid working relationship with a contractor. Actively listen to what your contractor has to say before the work begins, and make sure you understand the scope of the project. Communicating effectively will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your improvements are done to your liking.
- Be available. Sometimes, during the course of a home improvement project, unforeseen problems arise. These can include the discovery of structural damage, pest infestations, or foundation issues. If your contractor cannot get in touch with you, the project can get delayed or create additional cost overruns. Be available when your contractor needs you, and you will become a critical part of the solution.
- Make timely decisions. One of the biggest nightmares in home improvement projects is the dreaded “allowance.” Allowances are unspecified cost items that are important to the job, but which haven’t been identified. Common allowances include superficial or decorative items that have not yet been chosen by the customer at time of bidding. Most honest contractors will include a reasonable budget allowance in their bid to ensure that the final bill does not shock you. However, your contractor can only go by what you’ve told him, so if you are unclear about what you want or how much something costs, make a decision and find out. You should make decisions in a timely manner to allow your contractor to start in a reasonable amount of time. If not it can cause delays and push back when your project will be completed. You can prevent allowances from becoming problems by shopping for the items in question yourself and forwarding that information to the contractor. That way, the contractor will know with specificity what items are to be included and whether or not they should purchase them.
- Make timely payments. Exterior home improvement projects have enough delays already: weather, environmental impediments and unforeseen issues can all push a job past its deadline. When a customer misses an installment payment, the contractor cannot pay his team and materials cannot be purchased. This only serves to needlessly delay the project, and it can be a source of frustration to everyone.
- Be a good customer. All of the preceding tips add up to a good customer, but there are other important elements as well. Designating an area for your contractor and staying out of the way as much as possible is important, as is being courteous and accommodating within reason. While we probably won’t accept your offer of a cold drink or snack (we bring our own food and beverages), a kind gesture is always appreciated. We take great pride in the quality of our work regardless of the customers, your courtesy and kindness go a long way toward lifting our morale and keeping us motivated to do an outstanding job for you!
Century Home Improvements wants you to get the most out of your relationship with us. If you’ve been considering a home improvement project, contact one of our design consultants today to get your FREE estimate.