Getting ready to make some improvements around the home? It’s always best to hire a professional, but what should homeowners do once they’ve made the call and decided to hire a specialist? Here’s a hint: they shouldn’t just drop out of the game entirely and wait for their projects to be done. Instead, they should follow the tips below for ensuring that they’re working effectively with their contractors to get the best results.
Feel Confident About the Company
Homeowners should feel like they’re working with dedicated professionals who will have their best interests in mind. They should take their time in deciding who to trust with their projects, doing enough research and asking enough questions to feel confident that the contractor knows what he or she is doing. Homeowners can find out more about hiring a contractor and what they should expert before signing on the dotted line.
Establish Good Communication
Find out early on how the contractor prefers to communicate with his or her clients. Some contractors like to schedule daily, in-person meetings prior to beginning work. Others give their cell phone numbers to their clients and ask them to call or text if they have questions. Some schedule meetings with their foremen for pre-determined times each day so that clients can ask questions and stay up-to-date on the project’s process.
Track Changes in Writing
Keep a project journal and take notes during meetings with contractors. Note everything from upcoming delivery dates to product order numbers and questions about the work to keep a detailed record of how the project is moving forward and make it easier to reference earlier communications. Homeowners who prefer to contact their contractors by cell phone can still use this method.
Get official bids for any project changes that will require additional work. It’s not uncommon for contractors to find other issues that need to be addressed while they’re completing a job, so don’t be surprised. Just make sure the estimate describes the change offers, and a fixed price for it and sign the change order as soon as possible so the contractor and his or her team can stay on track to meet their deadlines.
Be a Good Customer
Contractors are providing valuable services to their clients so they deserve to be treated with respect. Plus, going the extra mile by establishing a friendly repertoire, designating a bathroom for them in the house, or even offering cold beverages on a hot day will keep them motivated to produce their best work. Customers should expect their contractors to treat them with a similar level of respect and courtesy.
Check the Work
Be proactive about keeping track of progress. Wait until after the crew has left for the day to avoid getting in the way, then check their work to make sure it matches the terms of the contract. Take notes in the project journal and bring up any concerns during the next day’s check-in with the contractor or foreman.
The Bottom Line
Establishing a good working relationship with a contractor and his or her team is the best way to ensure quality results. Treat everyone working on the house with respect and courtesy, but be proactive about keeping track of progress and ensuring that everything is going according to plan. It’s much better for contractors to find out something is wrong before they complete the job than after it’s already done.