Avoid delays, stick to the plan and only hire a contractor that communicates with you very well. These tips will help you avoid extra costs due to change orders, will increase productivity and will generally make your home improvement project go smoothly.
It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your contractor – doing so will help you get the most for your money during any kind of remodel, renovation or home improvement project. This begins with the hiring process, contract negotiations, and continues throughout the duration of the job and all the way to the project completion. The key is communication. Make sure your contractor is easy to communicate with, willing to help and lend advice, etc. Also make sure that you, the homeowner, are reasonable and accommodating. If you have good chemistry with your contractor, and if you follow the advice below, your home improvement is sure to be a success.
If you really want your home improvement project to go smoothly and you want to make things easier on your contractor (which will in turn make things easier on you) you should be aware that your decisions have to begin long before the work itself begins – well before the contractor is hired. A good contractor will be able to back you up with advice and help guide your choices during the contract negotiation phase, but in the end the decisions surrounding the project will be yours to make. Things like faucet and trim selections, paint and more will need to be made weeks in advance so you won’t have to deal with rescheduling and delays. Make sure you carefully consider the advice of your contractor, but know that the final decision is yours. Don’t let yourself be pushed towards something like a paint color or a faucet style or similar style choices; however, heed the advice of a contractor when it comes to regulations, safety, etc.
Stick to the Plan
Although chances are some changes will have to be made during the process, you should avoid doing them far too often. Each time you change your mind this means you will have to deal with some added costs to the overall price of your project, so make sure you keep your contractor informed about your concerns, requests, etc. Also, don’t be surprised or frustrated when you’re billed for a change you’ve made to the project: delays cost time and money and these costs must be recouped. A good contractor wants a happy customer, but won’t be in business for long if he/she doesn’t recoup the costs of delays. Avoid these extra costs and potential disruptions throughout the home improvement process by making as few changes to the job as possible. This is achieved by planning the project thoroughly beforehand and making sure that a detailed contract has been put into place so that you and your contractor know exactly what to expect from one another. Communication between you and your contractor is key to a home improvement project that goes smoothly and ends with you, the customer, being satisfied.
Don’t Buy Materials Yourself
Although the first thing that pops in your mind might be trying to avoid the contractors’ mark-up on materials, you should also be aware that they usually, if not always, get better prices than you do. Sometimes it’s ok to purchase materials – we’ve written about it before. However, in most cases contractors have better contacts than you and they may find a better way to deal with the details. Contractors also know which materials are best for the job, but some contractors of lesser repute may try to cut corners by purchasing cheaper materials so make sure the materials being used are itemized in the contract.
*Note: Every home improvement project should come with a warranty. Make sure yours has a comprehensive warranty of at least one year. At CraftPro we warranty most of our jobs for 3 to 5 years. Providing a warranty is a contractor’s way of showing that he or she knows what they’re doing and are going to provide an excellent, durable home improvement service. The last thing a contractor wants is to a call from a customer with news that something went wrong with the home improvement project.
You should always keep a contingency fund on hand at all times. Sometimes unpredictable things happen so you may need the extra money to cover expenses that neither you nor your contractor could have foreseen. Make sure you have enough on hand to cover emergencies, usually no more than 10% of what you already have prepared for your project.
Keep Kids and Pets Away
There is a good reason for that as they will only get in the way of the renovation efforts and may be the cause for someone getting hurt. It would be safest if they are as far away from the workers as possible to avoid any problems.
Keep these potential mistakes in mind and avoid them as much as possible. Establish a good, open line of communication between you and your contractor. If you’re in one of those unfortunate situations where you’re dealing with a different employee of the contracting firm every day, make sure they are all in detailed contact with each other so that your needs are being met. Likewise, make sure you respect the time and resources of the contractor you hired. If you follow this advice you’re sure to find a contractor you can keep coming back to for home improvement projects.
This article was written by Richard D’Angelo and Ella Andrews. Ella is a dedicated writer and keen home improvement specialist. She is always searching for new sources of inspiration. Ella presently blogs mostly about house relocation and home remodeling related themes.
Check out the Google Plus profile of me, Richard J. D’Angelo, President of CraftPro Home Improvements and co-author of this article. You can also visit CraftPro on Google+ and join our community of home improvement, maintenance and renovation professionals.