Do You Help or Hinder your Remodeling Contractor?

From on November 08, 2007 in General

As a homeowner, you depend on the buzz from reliable sources to screen the good contractors from the bad, choosing only among the best to work on your home. To switch things around a bit, this blog will focus on the dilemma professional remodelers face: what it’s like to work with an eclectic range of homeowner personalities on a daily basis. It’s true: you spend a significant amount of resources and place the value of your home in someone else’s hands whenever you hire a contractor. But at the same time, you hire professionals because they understand more about the process than you do. Where you choose to draw the line between involvement and interference can surely impact the outcome of your working relationship with your contractor, and the outcome of the job. One helpful trait that contractors appreciate about their clients is having a good sense of what you want done. Just as contractors must be prepared with portfolios, expertise, and helpful advice, you the homeowner who has done some basic reflection help set the grounds for work to be done. For instance, Taylor Phan of Perfection Construction recently spent a lot of time walking a client through the kitchen design process, explaining the differences between various countertops before the client decided on granite. While Taylor is happy to provide this service, he notices that clients who don’t know what they want can sometimes feel jumbled.

“It’s easier for them to make up their minds when they have a broad idea of what they want to do first. Otherwise, I need to go in to help them establish what needs to be done.”

Taylor also sites micromanagement on the part of homeowners as a hindrance. While some clients hover over minor details, professional contractors need a little space to accomplish their work. “That’s why they need us,” Taylor adds.

Jim Rydman of Newcastle Construction agrees.

“The most common things that happen are clients wanting to micromanage your project, not making decisions right away, or delaying. Having appliances and plumbing fixtures picked out makes it go a lot smoother,” Rydman states.

In the end, contractors want to accomplish the same thing as the homeowner: a fabulous remodel. Rydman states that having happy clients makes his business run a lot better and motivates him to do more than just a good job, but a superb one. “It’s easier to keep people happy,” he says. Taylor also prefers to avoid conflict, seeking out “a friendly working environment” with homeowners who are naturally protective of their homes.