How to Get the Most From Your Remodeling Contractor
Choose a contractor you can work with -- not against
By Stevie Donald
Bring your remodeling ideas to life in a stress-free fashion by working with a professional remodeling contractor. Having remodeling work done on your home is disruptive and messy. When there's dust everywhere, noise from power tools all day and materials piled up in your driveway, it can be hard to envision the final product. Get the most out of your remodeling contractor by choosing wisely, keeping lines of communication open and remembering that patience and consideration go a long way.
- What You Need to Know
- Complications and changes are inevitable in any remodeling project, often due to circumstances outside your contractor's control.
- Good contractors will ensure that your building meets code.
Choose a remodeling contractor wisely, not only based on price and expertise, but also for his or her record of reliability and honesty as judged by their past record. Get referrals, and follow up on them; make sure the contractor is licensed and insured.
Have a clear and realistic idea of your goals and expectations for your remodeling project before you even get estimates and during the course of the work.
Discuss any and all special requirements with contractors, such as morning start times, whether you want work done on weekends and your preferences about smoking on your property. Just keep in mind that the more restrictions you place on your remodeling contractor the more you slowthem down.
Make sure your remodeling contractor has everything she or he needs from you to make sure the job goes smoothly. Clear space for materials and a work area. Get valuable or fragile items out of the way, and make sure children and pets are kept away from the jobsite to protect them. Give your contractor and his or her crew easy access to electricity, water and bathroom facilities.
Remember that small touches can go a long way, and your contractor will be more willing to work harder for you if you are considerate. This can be as simple as putting donuts out on Monday mornings and keeping a stock of cold water and soft drinks on hand for the workers.
Set aside a regular schedule to discuss concerns and ask your remodeling contractor or his job superintendent questions. This can be daily, biweekly or once a week. If there is an architect or designer involved, invitew them to the meetings as well.
Make agreed-upon payments on time. Nothing will cool a contractor's enthusiasm for a job faster than a client who doesn't pay on time.
Don't nag your contractor over every small detail. Bring up legitimate concerns, and remember that you should make a "punch list" (final list of items to be finished up or refined at the end of the job), and go through it with your contractor before a final payment is made.
About the Author
Stevie Donald is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been a painting contractor since 1979.
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