If You Want the Best Contractor… You Better Be the Best Client Nov 2nd, 2010 From the outset of a renovation project, homeowners are prepared to keep their contractor in line and watch scrupulously for any shortfall in delivery or disappointment in expected outcomes. There are even television shows highlighting the downside of renovations. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise then to find out that contractors evaluate their clients too. Of course, they have expectations in terms of planning, payment and potential references. Completion of the project will hinge on how well both parties work together to meet their expectations. If you really think you deserve the best, you need to consider what it takes for you to be the best. * Know what you want. When you`re vague, it spells trouble. Of course, every decision cannot be absolutely guaranteed beforehand, but, having said that, the greater your clarity the greater the chances of success. * Have a detailed plan. Know your goals. Know your must-haves. You can`t seek out the best fitting contractor if you don`t know the type of work and expertise that will be required for your job. * Let your references be checked. You wouldn’t consider hiring a contractor without carefully checking references and double-checking credentials. Be open with your potential contractor concerning your personal experience with building and renovating. * Be open. It is a good idea to share what impact the project will have on you, your worklife and your homelife. * Be available. It is important to be available as work is being completed. It is highly unlikely that a successful project can be overseen from large distances. As soon as you recognize that problem, you have to quickly interject that there is a difference between overseeing and micromanaging. YOU’VE SIGNED THE CONTRACT. DON’T LET YOURSELF DOWN NOW. * Don`t micromanage – Granted, you are paying the bills but the time to be heard was in the planning stages. When a thorough contract has been developed and both you and the contractor know what the expectations are, it is time to give those who have the expertise the room to work. * Be a Good Communicator – Do your best to make sure that you and your contractor have the same understanding of the scope of the project. Before, during and after construction begins there must be an ongoing dialogue to maintain forward momentum and to ensure that any problems that come up or any changes that need to be made are dealt with before they can halt of even end the project. * Expect and Give Respect – Treat your contractor and the construction crew decently. You would be surprised how badly some people treat others who work “for” them. Respect is a two way street. Without it, you should move on. * Be a Team Player· it takes both the contracting team and the homeowner team to get the ultimate win-win on a remodeling project. Does everyone know what is expected by everyone else? It’s a two-way situation. Both sides need to pull together …. In the same direction. * Set Clear Parameters – Whether it’s a firm budget, a detailed plan or a protocol for how changes, problems or communication will be dealt with, the more you can clarify before the stress of construction begins, the more successful the project will be. * Be a good listener – Of course you want your contractor to hear you so that dreams become reality. Be willing to listen to your contractor. After all, you selected him because of his experience, quality reputation and references. Take advantage of his expertise. You’ll both be happier. * Give good references – Word of mouth is important to contractors. If the project is completed in a timely manner, if you would hire this contractor again, it you feel your friends should consider this contractor, then go ahead and give references. This is what good business is about and it will stand you in good stead in the future. In the end if the best contractor meets up with the best client, it`s definitely a win-win situation for everyone.