How to Convey What You Want To Your Contractor
Your relationship with your contractor can only be as effective and successful as the two of you are willing to make it. Getting what you want out of your project is probably just as important to your contractor as it is to you, so knowing how to convey your wants and needs is one of the most important factors in your relationship. It can sometimes be difficult to really know how to voice your needs effectively enough.
Be Clear and Concise
An effective relationship with your contractor starts with good communication. Do not expect your contractor to be able to read your mind and automatically know what you want and how you want it. There are so many tiny little details to any given project that you may have never considered before, so be as detailed as possible when describing what you want to your contractor. If don’t know the lingo, it’s okay, explain things to your contractor in your own words.
No matter how much you describe something to another person, they might not always see exactly what you have in mind, especially if your idea is a little outside the box. Be patient with your contractor as you are describing what you want, and remember that they are likely doing their very best to recreate your vision.
Give the Contractor a Chance
If the stain on your kitchen cabinets isn’t just right, calmly explain what it is that needs to be changed and give him/her a chance to fix the issue before you get upset. Assume that they want to do it right, and don’t get upset before you need to.
Sometimes a verbal explanation just isn’t enough to give a clear impression of what you want. In that case, come armed with some examples.
- Visual Aids Will Help: Find photos in books or on the Internet that look similar to what you are looking for, and make notations about how your idea differs from the pictures. Sometimes drawing an idea out can help too.
- Talk It Out: If you are not artistically inclined enough to draw your idea effectively, sit down with your contractor and see if they can draw out your vision enough to make sure they understand what you are looking for.
Give them a chance to repeat back to you what they understand. You’re going to be happier taking this extra time to ensure clarity.
Watch the Progress
As your project progresses, watch it come together. You will be better able to make corrections or be able to show the contractor what to fix than when the entire project is finished. You’ll be able to notice the wrong stain or the wrong materials if you’re watching.
There’s a fine line between being present and micromanaging. Don’t make yourself a nuisance just be present, or ask your contractor for regular updates so you can make sure the project is coming along as you envisioned. You can inadvertently extend the time it takes to finish your project if you micromanage, thus increasing the cost.
Any given project is going to have so many details that it can be hard to describe what you want with enough detail. Just the way a cabinet is painted, for example, can have so many variations — with the grain, flat, distressed, and so on. The possibilities are nearly infinite, and so it is important to convey what you want to the very best of your ability. Just remember to be patient, as clear and detailed as possible, and you should be able to effectively let your contractor know exactly what you want.