Top Contractor Communication Tips to Ensure Your Renovation Runs Smooth
Undergoing a home renovation can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. It’s exciting because you are transforming your home into one of your dreams, but the potential for things to go wrong can also keep you awake at night.
Unfortunately, problems with contractors are one of the leading causes of worry for homeowners during their renovation. The truth is, though, that the majority of these problems are simply caused by communication breakdowns between the homeowner and their contractor. It is crucial that you can communicate effectively with your contractor so that everyone is on the same page regarding the desired outcome of your renovation.
In this article, we give you our top contractor communication tips to ensure your renovation runs as smoothly as possible.
1. Do Your Research
The most critical part of any home renovation project is research. This is especially true when hiring a contractor, because the last thing you want is to put your project in the hands of someone who is going to make the project a nightmare.
A great way to limit potential issues with your contractor is to interview several candidates before deciding who to hire for your project. Interviewing potential contractors will give you better insight into their attitude and communication skills, which can help you avoid any headaches in the future. You can ask them about their processes, business practices, and any similar projects they have done in the past to gain a better sense of how they work.
You can also ask them to give you their professional opinion on your proposed project and timeframe to see how interested and engaged they are in your vision. Given their responses, you can then decide whether or not you feel that the contractor would be a good fit for the job. If you had to wait a long time to hear back after your initial call, for example, or felt that they didn’t seem interested in what you were proposing, then you’ll likely be better off going with someone else.
It is also advisable to check the references of any contractor you are seriously considering. Ask them for references, or check with your friends, family, and local hardware stores to find out whether they have a good reputation before taking the plunge.
2. Establish Your Budget
From the very beginning of communications with your contractor, it is imperative that you are crystal clear about your renovation budget. Although you may feel a bit awkward about it, or fear that it will inflate the price you pay, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from being vague about your budget. In addition, there is nothing worse than learning a job you had done will end up costing you much more than you planned.
Being honest with your contractors ensures they know exactly how much they can budget and how firm you are in your numbers. This enables them to plan out your project much more effectively and helps them avoid setbacks or costly surprises later.
3. Be Clear About Your Requirements
Before your project starts, be very clear about what you need your contractor to do at every stage. By providing a clear timeline, including progress checklists and overall targets, you can limit the potential that something will go awry by making sure that your contractor knows exactly what is expected of them and when.
You should also draft a detailed contract that lays out everything in writing. This should include your agreed timeline, materials, individual milestones, and desired completion date. It should also include stipulations regarding what happens should any unexpected issues occur. It is crucial that you take some time to go over this contract with your contractor very carefully. Whatever you do, don’t sign it off until you are certain both parties completely understand what is required of them.
4. Show Examples
A great way to share your design vision with your contractor is to provide some examples of other spaces that capture what you want to happen to your space. These can be from home improvement magazines, design websites, or even Pinterest, and can help you contractor both understand what you’d like to see and whether it can be accomplished on your budget.
If you cannot find any images which illustrate what you want, don’t panic. A hand-drawn sketch can still work wonders, and a quality contractor will be used to working with clients to implement their desired outcomes.
5. Keep Yourself Updated
Once your project has begun, you should keep in regular contact with your contractor to make sure everything is going as expected. The easiest way to do this is to get your contractor’s phone number, as well as those of any project supervisors, before the work has started.
We think it’s best to have daily communication with the contractor, either on the job site or by phone. You should discuss the best time to call and check in beforehand to avoid potentially interrupting their progress and can even propose a set time every day to chat so that it becomes a habit to share these updates.
When speaking to your contractor, it is better to ask specific questions. You can ask them exactly what work has been completed, for instance, or what they will be working on that particular day. This enables you to get a clear picture of how your renovation is progressing and whether or not it is going smoothly. If a setback has occurred, you should press your contractor for the proposed remedy and how this new course of action will impact the overall timeline of your project.
If problematic misunderstandings with your contractor arise, you must tackle them head-on. The worst thing you can do is keep quiet for fear of upsetting someone, as this can lead to bigger problems later in the project. If communication issues occur, it is best that work is temporarily stopped while you have a discussion with the contractor face-to-face. This is so you can both be honest with each other in the resolution of the problem and increase the likelihood that you can avoid such issues in the future.
6. Make Sure You’re Available
In just the same way as you want your contractor to keep you updated, you should be easy to reach as well. You could have planned your home renovation meticulously, but the unfortunate truth is that uncertainties and unexpected issues will often pop up regardless. In the event that this happens, your contractor will need to be able to get in touch with you before proceeding with their work. If they cannot reach you, this can cause frustration and delays.
You should make sure that your contractor knows exactly how to reach you for both standard project questions and any potential emergencies. If your contractor leaves you a message, make sure you get back to them as soon as you can, to avoid delays and potential fractures in your relationship with your contractor.
If you are so busy that it will be difficult for you to be contacted, you should consider having a trusted friend or relative as a designated point of contact instead. This way, should your contractor have any questions or concerns they can still get the answers they require without having to wait for you to get back to them.
Home renovations can be stressful, but a tense relationship with your contractor doesn’t have to be part of the process. As this article has shown, there are many steps you can take to help ensure the best experience possible.
Everyone has probably heard horror stories as to contractor relationships gone wrong, but it is worth remembering that contractors really do have your best interests in mind. They are paid to make your renovation vision a reality, after all. As a homeowner, you also have a responsibility to work closely with your contractors so that they understand exactly what is required of them at every stage of the process.
From this perspective, as long as you plan your project carefully and follow our contractor communication tips above, you should find your renovation goes smoothly without any setbacks or unpleasant surprises.