December 19, 2021
How to Help Your Contractor Succeed
Remodeling contractors are facing many challenges right now, from labor shortages to shipping delays and beyond. Thinking of yourself as part of your contractor’s team is a crucial mindset going into a remodel. As a homeowner, it’s in your best interest to nurture a good relationship with your contractor. Without getting to Jerry McGuire “help me, help you”… there are many easy ways you can help your contractor succeed. Keeping communication open, being honest, planning ahead, and being flexible are all qualities that will help your remodeling project run smoothly. Here are a few general guidelines, directly from a local contractor, to follow throughout your remodel.
Practice Good Communication
The absolute best thing you can do to help your contractor is to communicate well. Answer the phone, send text messages and reply to emails quickly and productively. Be honest and forthcoming about what you want for your home and how you’re feeling. Speaking up early may help avoid changes later, which can save you and your contractor both time and money.
In addition, work to develop a rapport with your contractor like you would with any other service provider. Allow them to understand your personality and get to know you. Likewise, be personable and engaging in return. A little relationship building will set a strong foundation for the entirety of your project.
Be Honest About Your Budget
Remodeling in the Seattle area is relatively expensive. Be honest about what your budget is and choose a contractor that fits your budget. Always plan for at least a 10% contingency when remodeling. A reputable contractor will not try to take advantage of you or upsell you. Quite the opposite!
Giving your contractor your honest budget will allow them to do their job. They will design within that budget and help you choose materials and finishes that will not exceed your budget. Whatever investment amount you are comfortable making, give a true and honest number from the very start.
Plan Way Ahead
Gone are the days of calling up a contractor and getting on their schedule in a few weeks. For the most part, experienced contractors are going to be booked out at least a few months. Many are booking out 6 months and we’ve even heard of a few booked out a year from now. The best way to start the relationship off right with any contractor is to have realistic expectations, starting with your timeline.
If you plan on remodeling any time in the next year start talking to contractors now. By starting the process earlier than you ever imagined you’ll have a few advantages:
- A realistic understanding of current construction timelines
- A better understanding of the process
- You’ll get on a contractor’s radar and be able to secure a construction start date sooner
- You’ll be able to spend the extra time honing your design and securing a permit with your city, which takes more time that you think!
Prioritize Your Home Goals
Knowing what your home goals are and being steadfast in your prioritization is important. Remodeling can be complex and making structural changes to your home can be even more challenging. You may not be able to get everything you want within the time and budget you have.
Make a list—write it down—of your top priorities. From the very beginning, share those with your contractor and repeat those priorities at every step. This will ensure both you and your contractor are staying true to the fundamental goals of your remodel.
Be Quick to Respond & Make Decisions
Finally, respond to your contractor in a timely manner. The faster you respond, the faster your contractor can place orders and complete work.
While it may be tempting to mull over faucet options for a week, respond quickly. In the current pandemic climate everything related to home remodeling is selling fast. Cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures, tile, windows and doors are all especially tough. Delayed decision-making could mean delaying your whole project if the contractor has to wait for something to be restocked or shipping times are extended.
One of the best ways to help your contractor after your project is underway is to respond to any questions or concerns quickly. Good communication, honesty, quick responses and a little bit of friendship will go a long way towards having a positive remodeling experience. Always remember that you, as the homeowner, are an important part of the remodeling team!