The contractor-homeowner relationship can sometimes be a complicated one. You have to find that elusive middle ground between trusting them but keeping your guard up; making them feel welcome but staying out of their way; and keeping in touch but not pestering them. The best way to start this process is by doing your research and finding a contractor you can work well with. Ask friends and family members for recommendations and read online reviews that are relevant for the work you need done. Once you have a few possibilities, meet with them and see which one you click with best. Then follow these 7 etiquette tips to keep your contractor-homeowner relationship on good terms.
Establish a good working relationship.
Any contractor will tell you that the number one thing they want from a client is easy, open communication. They want to know everything you need up front so they can develop a plan. They want you to communicate with them throughout the process and let them know if you’re unhappy. If something goes wrong or isn’t up to par, let them know in a timely manner. Be honest, but be respectful.
Prepare your home for work.
Make sure that the area where the crew will be working is clean. Put away any valuables, fragile items, or any decor that might be in the way. Give them clear access to the driveway or other parking area. If you have pets that normally have the run of the house, it’s a good idea to keep them contained in one area or make alternate plans for them while the contractors are working. Even if your dog is super friendly, he or she could be a distraction or could get hurt on dangerous tools and materials.
Stay in touch…
Even if you don’t have any questions or concerns, it’s a good idea to check in with your contractor every now and then. Make sure they have everything they need and ask if there are any accommodations they need or if there are any obstacles that are holding the crew up. Don’t take up time with idle chit-chat, though. Let them get their work done so they can finish within your agreed upon time frame.
…but don’t hover.
If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the house altogether, you don’t have to. But make sure your contractor and crew have plenty of room to work and no distractions.You want the work done on time, and they want to finish so they can move on to their next scheduled job. Don’t hang around and ask questions about the work or their methods. You’re not paying them to teach you. Let them focus on the task at hand without any unnecessary interruptions.
Some changes can be made easily without having to add time, cost, or materials to the job. Nothing is really set in stone until it’s completed. Most contractors understand that you might change your mind along the way as the work takes shape. With that said, try to keep changes to a minimum. Adding to the amount of work can really throw a contractor off schedule, creating a need to adjust the timeline and estimates for materials and labor.
Keep your cool.
If something does go wrong or isn’t up to par, don’t get angry without giving your contractor a chance to explain and make things right. Stay level-headed, treat them like the professionals they are, and they’ll usually return the favor. Problems are much more easily solved without anyone placing blame and being rude.
Show your gratitude.
Many homeowners will share their morning pot of coffee, provide a few bottles of water, or maybe put out a plate of cookies for the crew. Of course these things aren’t expected whatsoever, but they’re a nice little bonus. What your contractor does want is a show of appreciation in the way of a good review and referrals. An angry or dissatisfied customer is more likely to leave a review than a whole group of satisfied customers. If you’re satisfied with your contractor and the work, leave a positive review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List, and other websites and apps.