Tips to work well with Contractors | Angies List, Angie's List
Date Published: Jul 09 2009
Help your contractor’s job go smoothly by following these good customer principles.
- Don’t be late! Driving to the site, discussing potential work and preparing a written estimate all cost a contractor time and money. “Free estimates aren’t free for me,” says Jerry Morrison of highly rated Remodeling Etc. in Wylie, Texas. “I’m very punctual and expect other people to be.”
- Follow up It's a good idea to get multiple bids for a project. It's also a good idea to let contractors know if they didn’t win the job. “If I take time out of my day to come look at your house, I don’t have a problem with you using someone else,” Morrison says. “But it’d be polite to call and let me know.” Philadelphia deck builder Rick Conrad of Archadeck of Buck in Doylestown, Pa., says bid followups improve a contractor’s performance. “It’s courtesy and it helps us do our jobs better,” he says. Related: 10 tips to be a better customer
- Be clear Contractors say homeowners with realistic and well-defined goals are usually the most satisfied. “Let your expectations be known specifically and clearly so there can be less confusion,” says Josh Rubenstein of Handyjew Home Repair in Richmond, Calif. “We just want to get the job done. To distract us from that focus is a disservice to the customer.”
- Keep kids and pets safe and out of the way A contractor’s work can be dangerous. “For the safety of everybody, keep the kids and pets away,” says David Liscom of highly rated Peace of Mind Home Services in Springfield, Pa. Portland remodeler Garv White, owner of Creekside Remodeling & Building, says not only is the work site dangerous, but interruptions can hinder a contractor. “It’d be catastrophic if a kid was injured, and unless your pet is extraordinarily well disciplined, it’s going to interfere,” he says.
- Don’t be the chef Offering a contractor food or water can be a nice gesture, but most contractors come to the job site prepared. “A customer offering food or beverages is always appreciated. It makes you feel welcome,” Liscom says. But if you feel obliged to offer a drink, make sure it’s nonalcoholic. “I’d absolutely never accept any alcohol,” he says.
- Don’t feel obligated to leave a tip. Above-and-beyond work may be worthy of your generosity, but most contractors have clear-cut expectations of payment. “Usually, the job’s price is set before work begins,” Conrad says. But if tipping is in your nature, extra work can merit extra compensation. “I’ll accept a tip for work over and above the contract,” White says. “But there should be no expectation of it.”
- Know when to speak up If you have a question or you’re unhappy, say so as soon as possible. “If you have a question to ask, ask it right away. It’s your home,” Liscom says. White adds that not speaking up at the right time can cost you more in the long run. “Some projects are built in layers,” he says. “If a homeowner doesn’t voice their concern with the first layer until after multiple layers are built, addressing it can be monumentally difficult or impossible.”