How to Lose a Great Contractor
Finding a truly great contractor can be hard enough, you really don’t want to do anything to lose them. There is a pretty clear defined line between maintaining a professional relationship and being rude, for example. While you certainly don’t want to get taken advantage of by anyone, you also shouldn’t want to treat someone badly so that they are the ones running for the hills. Here are some other common ways to lose a great contractor, and quickly:
You have a vision for the outcome of your project and you are excited about it which is very understandable. But, it’s easy to end up with unrealistic expectations about the final results if you don’t understand the time, cost and effort it takes to achieve what you desire.
Don’t Just Talk, Listen: When you are talking to your contractor(s), be clear about your expectations, but also listen to their professional opinion about what is possible and what is not. If you have chosen well, then you can trust them to tell you what they think.
Be Realistic: Realize that if you add on work or expect workers to get there early and stay late, you will be expected to pay for it. If you are expecting stellar work in half the time for half the price, be ready to see your contractor walk. Bring your expectations down just a tad so that your contractor can work with you.
Working with a contractor should make your project go smoothly, but that will only work if you do your due diligence.
Skipping Vital Steps
It’s bad enough when some contractors want to cut corners, but it can be worse when the homeowners are the ones trying to push for it. If you have a good contractor, they likely have a certain way of doing things and they are going to expect you to understand and abide by this as well. They also know the laws and regulations, and if something is not legal, they’ll tell you.
Not Being Thankful
A good contractor is not going to risk his or her reputation so that you can save a few bucks or time; they are going to be mostly concerned with doing the best work, as they should. You should too. If they tear open a wall, and find electrical work that needs to be done then you’re going to have to get it done. Be thankful they caught it and aren’t the type of contractors who will just cover up problems.
Stopping by the project site, doing daily inspections of the work as it happens, and asking questions when they come up is very important for an effective contractor relationship. It can help ensure that corners are not being cut and that the best work is being done. However, there is a fine line between being present and micromanaging.
Over Doing It
No one, including your contractor, wants someone looking over their shoulder and commenting on or correcting every single move they make. Your contractor is the professional here and you should let them work. He or she likely has no issue with questions, routine inspections, or even the odd surprise visit, but don’t micromanage your contractor.
Refusing To Be Flexible
In every project, big or small, there are going to be hang ups.
Stuff Happens: Inclement weather, accidents, supply back orders, and other unforeseen circumstances are likely going to happen. This can mean that timelines might need to be increased some, or that allowances might need to be made with the budget.
Be Prepared: Every homeowner should have a buffer for this type of occurrence, and should expect it. If you refuse to be flexible on any part of the contract from the beginning through the end, you could lose more than just a week or two on your timeline.
You and your contractor have the potential to have a very effective and productive relationship. That relationship depends not only on your contractor’s behavior and work, but your own. If you behave poorly and are difficult to work with, you better bet that you could lose a great contractor.