How to Keep Your Contractor Happy How to Keep Your Contractor Happy
Contractors are human just like everyone else. It is human nature to defer to people with more knowledge or experience. However, knowledge and experience does not make someone perfect. Your contractor will have weaknesses whether it is being too ambitious, not paying attention to details, or forgetting certain items. You should always set high expectations when hiring someone to work for you, but also understand they can make mistakes. For example, you may tell a contractor you want red siding and they order green. You happen to show up on the job site to be astounded at three rows of green siding on your home! Homeowner A loses his temper and begins yelling at everyone to stop what they are doing. He may even humiliate the contractor in front of his workers and demand a resolution this very instant. Homeowners B sees the siding is wrong and approaches the contractor, notifying them of the mistake. He reminds the contractor he wanted red siding, and that a quick resolution to this problem would be appreciated. As you can see, one situation can be approached from two different angles. Both homeowners are trying to achieve the same thing, but approach it in different ways. How would you feel if you made a mistake at your job, and your boss began screaming at you? Lack of tact and communication can ruin a relationship with a builder.
Paying a contractor on time will keep them happy. Contractors will list their payment schedule in their bid, so it should not be a surprise when they submit a bill to you. Withholding funds, or making late payments, will hurt your relationship with the builder. Imagine your boss telling you payday has been delayed a week because he has been too busy to do payroll! Paying a contractor on time allows him to pay his workers and suppliers. It is important to understand your money is going to more than just the contractor. It pays his bills.However, if you see the contractor is invoicing you for unfinished work, you have a right to question them. This does not mean you fail to pay the bill, but remind him of the fact work is not completed per the agreement. In many cases, a progress payment (based on a percentage of completion) can be negotiated. Money can be the root of many problems, so it is important to approach these situations with tact. Telling the builder you are not paying them will not win any friends. But being honest and level-headed will make you appear fair.
It is important to treat your relationship with the builder in a business-like manner. Technically, you are their employer for the time they perform work on your project. Approach the situation like you would a project at work. It is important to be friendly and accomadating, but also firm when the situation presents itself. Communication is crucial to making sure the job is completed the way you want.
Before the project starts, clearly outline your goals for the contractor. Builders like to know expectations upfront, so presenting them with your goals will only help the project. Problems arise when you rely upon the contractor to make executive decisions about your home. You may have wanted brown roofing shingles, but in haste, did not clarify this with the builder. You come home from work to find black shingles on the roof, which look hideous with your red siding. Who is to blame? Both the homeowner and contractor share the blame for the mistake, but it is your responsibility to tell the contractor what you want! Be clear in your wishes so there is not a "he said, she said" situation.
Contractors love freebies no matter how small they are! Bring donuts and coffee to the job site one morning or offer to buy lunch. If it is hot outside and the builder is putting on the roof, offer some cold drinks. You will be amazed how far these small gestures will go! Most people do not think of these small things, but by doing so, you can earn points with the builder. The contractor may even offer to do some extra work for you or reduce his fees.
Construction nightmares are founded on a poor relationship between the homeowner and builder. When a mistake takes place, the homeowner can lose confidence in the builder. When the homeowner humiliates the builder, he loses interest in satisfying the customer. From this point, the entire project snowballs downhill. The homeowner withholds payment from the contractor to "show them who is boss." In turn, the contractor files a lien against the property because he is not getting paid. The last place you want to end up is in court over a labor dispute. However, by following the tips mentioned in this article, you can ensure a successful project with your builder!