How to Deal With Contractors (So You Won't Go Mad!)


Article by: Ailsa Forshaw

BE PREPARED -- Building , Picnic Tables for Casual Dining Fun a house , Tankless Water Heater is lots of fun, but it's a huge time investment, too. There's a ton of paperwork and planning, so it's essential to establish a system to stay organized. You may have collected articles, paint , Nail Guns - The Principle Behind Direct Drive And Indirect Drive Nail Guns And Why They Are Safe samples, roofing , A Carefully Planned Outdoor Kitchen is Worth the Investment samples, etc, etc. over the past few months (or years, depending on how long you've been dreaming of this!) that you want to incorporate into your new house. , Kitchen Magic A see- through plastic , Kitchen Cabinets - Reface Or Replace? bin is handy for keeping your miscellaneous items in, so you can sift through them every so often. Sometimes it's a good way to keep your goal in mind if you periodically look at the items in the box, as a little reminder of what you're going for.

Keep a good filing system. You'll be getting a lot of quotes (a word to the wise: don't get too many quotes for each job - establish what a reasonable rate for the job at hand is, then settle on a contractor , Home Improvements - The Fun Stuff you're comfortable with. Remember, the cheapest guy isn't always the best, and neither is the most expensive one, necessarily"¦). Quotes that require a lot of detail (Framing, Foundation, Drywall, Mechanical, Cabinetry, etc.) should be kept intact.

Make a copy of the original quote, then block out the prices and use that for the new quotes. That way, you're comparing apples to apples, oranges to oranges. (Word to the wise -- Dwight insisted on this going in, although I don't agree with it. I have found that just asking for a Complete Quote, stating the exact same information, , Barbeque Makeover for Less: How to Turn Your Aging Grill or BBQ Smoker Into a Shiny New Machine will give me a much better 'feel' for the Contractor. , Home Improvements - The Fun Stuff You can tell right from the beginning if the guy is trying to pull the wool over your eyes -- stay away from this type -- it only gets worse. This kind of guy will give you a quote that seems very reasonable, but often leaves out crucial components.

We had a number of situations like this during this Build -- the first quote for the Basement , Picnic Tables for Casual Dining Fun -- and it was extremely detailed -- was $20,000. higher than the other quotes. I know -- craaazy! You gotta watch out and stay on your toes! The Cabinetry quotes were all over the board, and the Drywall for the Garage , How To Break Up a Large Family Room alone varied from $2,500. to $9,500. Our house , Picnic Tables for Casual Dining Fun cost was cut down by at least $40,000., just by shopping around and really reading the quotes.) It's not fair to get two different quotes and one includes the cement for the foundation and the other is only for the cribbing"¦ asking for a complete quote might eliminate this situation, but being careful from the outset will save , Old Cabinets Look New! you a lot of bother, later.

Sometimes, you may notice that you'll get very different 'complete quotes'. We have found that the quote you get is often a 'forewarner' of the work you'll get. If it takes a ridiculous amount of time to even get the quote, and you can't get the guy to return your phone calls, , How to Finance a New Kitchen? that's probably what it'll be like when he's actually working for you, if you give him the job. If the quote is sloppy (we call , Power Tools and HAV - Hand Arm Vibration - Prevention is Better Than Cure them 'napkin quotes', since they're scribbled out on a napkin from the restaurant, so you have to look through the coffee stains to see the numbers, or on a crumpled up piece of paper!), the workmanship might be careless, too. Keep in mind that prices go up over time, so if the quote is old, it'll need to be up-dated before any work commences.

Also, mistakes happen, so go over your quote to make sure that it is relatively accurate - you should never be responsible for knowing exactly how many screws , Finding The Best Whole House Humidifier Out There will be required for the project (how are you paying for this?! Ha,ha,ha!), but you should check the windows , All the Best in Luxury Comforters, Comforter Sets & Duvet Covers and doors, , Old Cabinets Look New! what's included in each package, to make sure it's actually for your house! , Power Tools and HAV - Hand Arm Vibration - Prevention is Better Than Cure

Be sure to go over the Check List of every step that must be followed. Missing , Designer bathroom sinks and basins a step (like permits!) can cost you time and money (jail time in some States, if you haven't gone through the right authorities to make sure you can build what you want - be especially careful with this if you live in an historical neighborhood).

BE DECISIVE -- It's important to have a clear idea of what you want in your home , How to Finance a New Kitchen? before you start to build, or even draw. The more you decide early, the fewer distractions and delays that will happen later. This is not to say that you can't or shouldn't make changes , Useful Home Products Will Help Your House Sale Profits throughout the project, but be prepared to make quick decisions on those changes. , Clearing the Air on What to Look for in an Air Purifier Fence sitting or being wishy-washy will drive everyone crazy.

Keep in mind that if your contractor , Updated Bathrooms Pay When You Sell Your Home asks you more than once or twice about something you haven't made your mind up on, he'll probably head off to another job, and you may not see him again for a while! The reality of a contractor's life is that he'll have many projects going at the same time, so don't think he'll wait around and hold your hand while you decide on a tile"¦ it ain't gonna happen. Be decisive and clear - you'll save , How to Finance a New Kitchen? time and money.

BE NICE -- I love the stories from people who say proudly, 'Yeah, I really ground my contractor , Outdoor Kitchens Simple and Sophisticated down', and 'I told my contractor , Research Concerning Color in Homes and Workplaces off, this morning. He left, but I think he's coming back later, today"¦' Ha,ha,ha,ha! Those crazy nuts! That's a great way to get rid of your contractor, , Kitchen Magic and make it very difficult to find another one. Contractors , How To Choose A Pot Rack For Your Kitchen are, for the most part, connected. And maybe a little gossipy"¦ what do you think they talk about while they drink all that coffee?! Ha,ha. Also, if you bring in another contractor , All the Best in Luxury Comforters, Comforter Sets & Duvet Covers to finish another guy's work, they'll know immediately that there was conflict on-site, and they may be reluctant to get involved. The bottom line is, be respectful of your contractors , Nail Guns - The Principle Behind Direct Drive And Indirect Drive Nail Guns And Why They Are Safe as you expect them to be respectful of you. If you do have an issue, meet off-site to discuss the situation and come to a resolution.

Word to the Wise: Normally this is sound advice, , The Top Five Do It Yourself Home-improvement Tips but sometimes you will find yourself , Old Cabinets Look New! faced with a crisis that needs to be dealt with head the one we had with our first carpenter. We gave him as many chances as we could before I had to confront him on the job about his work. It was very unpleasant, but I had to let him go -- the whole Job was suffering because of this one guy.

The real key, even in this case, is that we knew we had Trevor (our favorite Carpenter!) waiting in the wings before we said anything to the first guy... better safe , Effective Roofing Repairs than sorry!

BE REALISTIC -- Set a time frame that is reasonable. When you're starting from scratch, it takes weeks or months for many stages. The plans , Nail Guns - The Principle Behind Direct Drive And Indirect Drive Nail Guns And Why They Are Safe and blueprints can easily take 3 months or more, depending on how elaborate your plans , All the Best in Luxury Comforters, Comforter Sets & Duvet Covers are. The actual building , All the Best in Luxury Comforters, Comforter Sets & Duvet Covers process is quite quick if you have planned everything out in advance, but you should still allot at least 3 - 8 months for the building , How To Hire A Plumber process. Then be prepared for another couple of months if things go wrong. It's been known to happen! Have a back up plan , Remodeling Your Home The Right Way - Making it Pay! for where you will live if you have a specific move-out date in your current home , Finding The Best Whole House Humidifier Out There so you won't be panicked if your new house , Updated Bathrooms Pay When You Sell Your Home isn't even at lock-up stage and the moving van is at your door! , Picnic Tables for Casual Dining Fun

Remember, again, that you're are probably not your contractor's only client, so you may or may not be at the top of his priority list. (Calling him at home , An Interview with Design Psychology Expert Jeanette Fisher at 6:00a.m. every day will not put you higher on the list, just so you know - we've had people try that!) Keep this in mind when you have a short time frame - it's amazing how much easier it is to schmooze when you're desperate!

One more thing - I notice that there's a lot of crappy advice , Outdoor Kitchens Simple and Sophisticated out there on 'How to Find a Contractor'. 359 Thousand Easy Questions to Ask a Builder. Puh-leeease. Like they're gonna respond well to that! Gimme a break! Do these people know any contractors?! You need basic information , Luxurious, Comfortable and Complete: Transform Your Bathroom - How much is it? Are you available? When will you be available? Can you recommend any other trades? Keep it simple. Meet face-to-face. Go see some of his previous work. Don't annoy people from 10 years ago who had work done by the contractor. , An Interview with Design Psychology Expert Jeanette Fisher Would you like someone calling you? Asking a million stupid questions will raise a red flag for the contractor , Old Cabinets Look New! that this potential client is more likely to be a potential pain in the shirt. Contractors , Old Cabinets Look New! are (generally speaking) so busy that they don't need the hassle. Also, if the contractor , Effective Roofing Repairs has a group of sub-trades that he regularly works with, it'll be waaay easier to keep track of everyone once the project gets underway, which will make the whole thing much easier all round.

BE FLEXIBLE --No. This does not mean bending over backwards for your contractor , Memory Foam Mattress vs. Coil Spring Mattress; How Do They Differ? (although, truth be told, they might like to see that "¦ha,ha). It just means that if your significant other really, really, reallllly wants Sand , Welding Basics For Beginners Beige, and you have your heart set on Evening Taupe (yes, it's practically the same shade, but couples often have major disagreements over tiny, tiny issues), go with whatever gets you in the house. , Updated Bathrooms Pay When You Sell Your Home Maybe you can choose the five foot tall gargoyles for the top of the fireplace, then let there be a compromise. 'Okay, you go two shades up on the colour , Barbeque Makeover for Less: How to Turn Your Aging Grill or BBQ Smoker Into a Shiny New Machine and I'll give up on the gargoyles on the mantel "¦' Voila! You've got what you wanted! (Don't try this little ploy if your spouse actually likes indoor , Don't Purchase A Fireplace Until You Read This gargoyles!)

Building a house , How To Choose A Pot Rack For Your Kitchen (or any other joint effort that involves hammers and paint) can be very trying on a relationship. Be sure to work out problems as they arise - letting things stew will not make the project easier. Reassure each other when necessary, then randomly after that! Keep your eye on the prize -- you'll both love the house , How To Choose Wall Mount Outdoor Mailboxes when it's done. Hey, you can use your Air , New technology or an old standard: choosing the right vacuum cleaner Miles Credit Card when you're buying the million things you need to build the house, , Where To Find A Local List Of Plumbers that way you'll have accumulated enough points to take a well deserved break at the end of the job! Hawaii, here we come!

BE POSITIVE -- Keeping a positive attitude always helps the situation. Chances are pretty high that you'll encounter difficulties, or things that you hadn't anticipated. Don't spiral downwards - it won't help. Stay focussed; find a solution. Have you ever talked to someone who is always spinning a negative tale? Can you get away from them fast enough?! Ugh. Nothing worse. You want to maintain a positive outlook on the whole thing. You'll be surprised by how that affects everyone around the construction site. (Oh, yeah. Don't be a pest, , Clearing the Air on What to Look for in an Air Purifier either. Visit from time to time, but 'supervising' professionals is totally annoying and will slow up the work. They're there to build, not teach, so you can ask the odd question and make nice comments, but that's about it - the less said, the better. You can bring treats and cold , Welding Basics For Beginners drinks, though - everyone will love that!) Also, to the untrained eye, a project might appear to be 10% done when in reality it is 80% completed, so uninformed comments from the peanut gallery will not be appreciated. People work best when they're praised, appreciated, and fairly paid. (Okay, here's my last little addition-make sure you pay your contractor. , Advantages of Kitchen Granite Countertops Seems simple, but it makes a big difference on future work - either different work or maintenance on the current work.) Good stuff to keep in mind when you're at the building , A Carefully Planned Outdoor Kitchen is Worth the Investment site.

Ailsa Forshaw is a Writer, Builder, Website Owner & Manager, Teacher, Mother... all in Alberta, Canada. She is Married with Two Lovely Children, and one gorgeous wee dog. Her Website,, is chock full of all sorts of useful & fun information , Outdoor Bars - Essential For Summer Entertaining to help anyone become Financially Successful, Slim, Trim, and Happy... what more could you want?? Pop in for a wee visit!

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