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Stop Fighting with Your Contractor

If you have finally found a construction contractor who is able to do your renovating job for you, why fight with them?

Yes, none of them are perfect but there are some things you can do to help make the job run smoother, finish on time and on budget and with a whole lot less stress and angst.

I know this doesn’t sound like you, but you would be amazed at what some clients think their finally-found contractor should do on their behalf.

Here is a list of ten things you can do to help your contractor and yourself:

1. Stop looking over his work every day. There are a lot of things that need to get done which aren’t immediately evident on a job site. But if those things don’t get done on time, your job could be held up for days, in some cases of material or ‘out-of-trade’ contractor shortage, weeks. So let him spend the time liaising with colleagues or accurately measuring and ordering the required materials.

2. Hiring sub-contractors. If you don’t get a brickie, plumber, electrician etc on time to do their bit of the contract, then your job gets held up too. It is a bit like a domino effect, if someone ‘falls over’ in one section of the work chain, the rest of the work gets stuffed around too. This isn’t your contractors fault so stop ‘going at him’ over something that he has no control over. Obviously, if there is going to be a prolonged delay your contractor has other subbies he can let the work go to but no reasonable contractor worth his salt immediately calls on someone else to do the work previously ‘subbied’ to someone else. Your contractor knows when he needs to call on someone else to do your job so leave it up to your contractor to decide.

3. There is no need to call your contractor every third day to see when the work will be completed. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your new bathroom. Be patient.

4. If you are doing house renovations, things have to be ripped apart to make the improvements so there will be a mess. Realise this, make allowances (like moving great-grandmothers vase into a safe place) and move anything else that could be an inconvenience to your workmen – well out of their way.

5. So you want them to clean up as they go? No problem, but it does help a lot if you have a broom, dustpan and the rubbish bins available

6. Keep an eye on your kids. If workmen constantly have kids hanging around they are in the way. Accept the fact that your workmen are there to do your job, not answer every question young Johnny has about why something is getting done. Yes, most contractors do like kids…but not always underfoot.

7. When your contractor says he needs to see you, then he needs to see you. When you have made an appointment time, be on time. Yes, s/he is working for you but they are not your personal ‘servant’ for you to keep waiting indefinitely. Their time is money too, so be a responsible and considerate client and stop costing them money in ‘downtime’.

8. If you are to choose the materials yourself, eg: tiles, pavers, paint colours, and the contractor need them by a certain set date, then have the materials there ready for them to start work with them.

9. Accept the fact that we still get rain (well, in some places anyway) and when it’s pouring rain a lot of outside work can’t be done. Your contractor can’t do anything about this but it does hold up work. If not immediately for him, certainly for some (or one) of the subbies. You will be surprised how well the majority of the contractors reschedule their work load to accommodate this work inconvenience. Stop pushing him because there are many other factors that have to be taken into consideration.

10. Pay progress payments on time. There is no reason for you to think your contractors have to ‘bankroll’ your renovations. They are a construction contracting business, not a bank.

With a little bit of courtesy, common sense and respect by everyone, there really is no reason to fight with your construction contractor. They want to finish your job and get paid for it so they can move on to the next one. You want your perfect job and they want to do it for you, so by working together and not fighting you both achieve your goals.

(c)2006 J.Smith Publisher