5 tips for a better contractor-customer relationship
Many contractors are willing to work with homeowners to establish payment schedules or negotiate down payment terms.
Employing an experienced professional contractor to help you with your home improvement project is already a step in the right direction towards getting quality work.
If you're new to the process or just want to work on being a better customer, consider the following top five tips:
1. Be specific about the work you want done
When getting an estimate, let your contractor know exactly what it is you would like done, so he or she can make a proper assessment of the work required and how much it will realistically cost.
Have the end goal in mind and be consistent when requesting estimates from contractors, as this will ensure that you receive fair "apples-to-apples" comparisons between several bidding candidates. With a full plan laid out, you can avoid misunderstandings and ensure that each party comprehends exactly what the job will require.
2. Be punctual
Most consumers expect service professionals to be punctual, but showing up on time is a two-way street. Avoid missing or delaying appointments like the initial meeting with your contractor the same way you would expect them to.
3. Inform rejected contractors of your decision
If you've requested several bids for your home improvement project from multiple companies, take the time to let the rejected contractors know you won't be using their services. A free estimate may be free to you, the consumer, but crafting a bid costs a contractor time, effort and money.
Sure, they'll get the message if you ignore their calls for a month, but it's always more professional, polite and considerate to call the contractors personally so they can focus their time and efforts on other projects.
4. Trust in your contractor's professional capabilities
If you've done your homework by verifying the contractor's certifications, skill level and customer references, and you've hired the contractor, try to keep an open mind about his or her ability to provide quality work and effectively finish the job.
If your contractor has proved him or herself capable of providing quality work, avoid hovering over them while they're working, focusing too much on too many small details and refraining from frequently voicing your opinion on how the project should be approached.
Of course, if a contractor proves that they're not capable of providing quality work or they're not meeting the agreed-upon expectations, you should make your opinion known.
5. Make payments on time
As a customer, you are responsible for making payments to the contractor according to your contract. Receiving late payments can be frustrating for a contractor in the same way you would be frustrated by a late payment from your workplace.
If you're satisfied the project is going according to plan and the contract's requirements, keep track of payment due dates and submit payments on time. You'll hold up your end of the bargain and your contractor will be encouraged to continue to complete the job in a timely manner.