Project Priority Part 2- The Joy of Working with Contractors
Alrighty, so you’ve got your list, you know whats possible this year and you’re ready to make some calls. Have you ever called a contractor before? Where do you start? Do they bite? Lets ask Kelsey, our interior designer at Green Design Center, because I’m pretty sure working with contractors is her forte.
SO I’VE NEVER CALLED A CONTRACTOR BEFORE. OTHER THAN PHYSICALLY DIALING THE PHONE, IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL I SHOULD KNOW PRIOR TO CALLING MY CONTACT? WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION SHOULD I HAVE READY?
– Have a general idea of what you would like to see done within the project but know that once a walk through of the space has been completed, some details may need to change.
– Have a budget in mind. If you know you only have X amount of dollars to spend, tell them. This allows for your contractor to budget different elements initially or tell you that your budget will not cover the scope of your project.
What if my contractor seems uncomfortable doing the job I’ve asked them to perform?
-If your contractor seems uncomfortable with a portion of your project, do not hesitate to ask why.
-If they are unfamiliar with a product, that’s an easy one. We are always more than happy to help contractors with samples so they can test them out BEFORE they start the project, however your contractor might pressure you to use products they’re more accustomed to. Be firm if you believe in your products, or do not approve of theirs.
-If they are uncomfortable with a larger piece of the project, they may not be the right contractor for you. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to install your floor, right? In the long run, you are better off bringing in someone who knows and is comfortable with the work being asked of them. Many
contractors are willing to try new things to accommodate their clients and to learn themselves, but do you want to the be guinea pig?
I’ve had a lot of trouble getting someone that I trust. Do I keep shopping, or settle because my project can no longer be put on hold?
I’m overseeing my contractor’s work but I have doubts the project is going according to my plan. Any tips on bringing up the discrepancy?
Simply ask for clarification. There are many moving parts and behind the scenes elements to all projects. Everything might be right no schedule and going to your plan. Imagine driving down a freeway that is under construction- the lane patterns and physical locations change multiple times before they are in their final, planned location.
If there is a discrepancy, you are much better to bring it up NOW than once things have been completed or a next phase begins.
Any advice for my instincts to micromanage? I know they’re the professionals but…
If you see yourself helicoptering over the contractors, leave. They really are the professionals and nobody enjoys someone watching over their shoulder. If they have questions, they will ask. If you can imagine, having someone watch you work can make you nervous and cause mistakes.
Have your contractor lay out a TENTATIVE schedule. I say tentative because surprises or unexpected necessities come up during projects, and at the end of the day your contractor is only human. They get sick and have family emergencies too.
At the beginning of each day, ask for a run down of today’s plan and ask them to follow up with you before they leave for the night.
Please share with us your top Do’s and Don’ts when working with contractors and similar professionals.