Construction and Renovation

Working with a Contractor; The Basics

Once I post this I'll be loading up the truck for a masonry project we're starting today. This will be the first time we enter a client's home since the new year. I thought I'd share some things I've learned about the "start day" experience. 

So most homeowners shop a couple contractors after getting recommendations from supply houses or friends. We're going to fast track past that since today is the "start day." 

When I walk in to a home to begin a project I'm very careful to enter as a guest. I know a lot of guys that will walk in expecting some collateral damage or heavy clean up when the project finishes. I like to think I'm being invited into your home and any mess I make is my mess to take with me when I finish. So today I'll be laying down protective paper where I'll be walking and plastic wrap over any surfaces the homeowner can live without for the duration. 

TRUST: The most difficult part of working inside a home is earning trust. Once trust is established the work is easy. I've worked with homeowners who have "babysat" me before. They feel the need to stay home from work and keep an eye on progress and ask questions. Part of showing how much I care shows they can trust me with their home. We work much faster without interruptions.

PATIENCE: This project has us working as a subcontractor managed by a general contractor a.k.a a builder. The builder will be responsible for our progress and our schedule. I've found working with a builder to be a lot like working with a homeowner with the difference being the builder knows what it feels like to work in the midst of an anxious homeowner. However the builder often assumes the role of peace keeper. Like most politicians a builder is almost always under some level of stress. I've found the best way to work with a builder is to make things as simple as possible and JUST GET TO WORK. 

So to close today's brief post; If your contractor isn't working to earn your trust before they begin the project, you may be in for a stressful endeavor. Just as relevant - you should be working to earn your contractors trust as the project proceeds. Trust and patience is the message here today. 

I'm excited to get to work on this project. The scope has changed a few times since the quote in November. So along with set up and prep today, I'll be working to focus the project and find our direction.  

Patrick MerrillComment