How to Get the Best Work from Your Contractor
Hiring and working with a contractor can be pretty tricky. Now that you have done your research and compared quotes and past work, you have chosen your contractor and are ready to get down to business. To ensure the most successful project, you want to get the very best work from day one. While the contractor you have chosen is likely a great person and professional, there are some things you can do to get the best work from your contractor.
Draw Out a Well Defined Contract
Setting parameters is the first step to a successful project and relationship with your contractor. It outlines the expectations as far as the work to be done, the time line it should be done in, and the payment schedule.
The more detailed your contract is, the less likely you will run into many problems. A good contract is the best way to start off on a good foot. With a detailed contract you will be able to put things in there that help you avoid conflict such as what to do if there is a delay on the fault of the contractor vs. your fault.
Be Clear About Your Expectations
From the very beginning, you need to do whatever you can to help your contractor understand your vision. Be clear and concise with your explanations, and draw out or show pictures of similar examples of what you are expecting your outcome to be like.
Talk It Out
Let your contractor discuss each detail with you to make sure he/she understands and also to discuss the different possibilities. Sometimes an experienced contractor will actually help you come up with even a better plan than you thought you had. They know what materials work together, so keeping communication open and asking for input will go far.
Maintain a Professional Relationship
If your contractor is a very personable guy, it might be hard to not get buddy-buddy with him. You should, however, maintain a professional demeanor at all times. This will help when it comes time to make tough decisions, point out mistakes, and if you need to stand your ground on any disagreements. It could also very well help you avoid getting taken advantage of.
Be Present and Ask Questions
Do not feel like you need to stay away from the project site and just let the contractor work. This is your project, and you will need to oversee the work to make sure it is coming along. But avoid crossing over into micromanagement.
If you see something that looks wrong or brings up questions, ask them. Doing so will keep the contractor and workers honest, and can help to avoid shoddy work and cut corners. For example, if you notice tile being put in with larger grout lines than you want, say so. If you notice any shoddy work at all, that is not up to par, tell the contractor immediately.
Be Patient and Flexible
You should absolutely be firm in your resolve on keeping to the contracted time and budget as much as possible, but understand that some circumstances require some flexibility. If you have made changes, for example, then time is going to be added, as well as potential costs. You can’t start with linoleum and then change to travertine and expect it to cost the same.
Be ready for delays such as bad weather and supply back orders that may stretch out the project time a little. Also be ready for unforeseen issues that might lead to spending more money. So keep a “buffer” for time and budget in mind should you need it, and remember to update your contract should any changes need to be made.
These tips will help you to get the very best work out of your contractor. Your relationship with your contractor will greatly affect the outcome of your project, so keep a professional and respectful rapport with them. Outline all of your expectations and details in a written contract, and keep up with the progress. Be present but also fair when issues do come up. That is really all it takes, and you will have a more successful project for it.