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Things you might not know about working with a contractor

Searching for a contractor to take on your next home renovation project? Here are a few seldom talked about things to keep in mind.

Your project might not start on time

So, you’ve finally done it! You’ve chosen a contractor, had your estimate done and your deposit has been paid. Now it’s time to get started …maybe. The reality of home renovation is nothing like the reality TV version of home renovation. In the real world, contractors have multiple clients, often with projects scheduled back to back. If the project commencing prior to yours takes longer than expected, it could push your start date back by days or even weeks.

You should know that the weather can also impact the start date of your project. This is especially true if you’re having landscaping, roofing, or windows done.

If you’re thinking about taking time off during your reno or relocating the family to a hotel or with relatives during the renovation, you’re going to need to be flexible about your dates.

Changes to your project can mean time and money … for someone else

Just as the project before yours can impact your start date, your project can impact the project after you. If you have a moment of inspiration in the middle of your renovation, or if something unforeseen comes to light when the walls come down, it could mean a lengthy delay. This delay can often impact the project following yours, and with some contractors, it could mean putting your project on hold until after the next project has been completed.

They don’t want your help

“If my husband helps out with the drywall, can we get a discount?” You can be sure that these are words that contractors hear in their nightmares.

Understandably, there are plenty of handy homeowners out there, and any time there’s a chance at saving money, most of us will try to make it happen. However, here’s the thing, your contractor has a crew of workers. More often than not, these workers have a synergy and years of experience that allows them to do things faster than most novice homeowners. If a homeowners gets in to help, it can actually lead to a need to “babysit” them, to ensure that things are done correctly. This means that your help can end up costing more time and money.

One size does not fit all

The size of your project does matter. This is particularly true when it comes to small projects. If you’re in the researching phase of selecting a contractor and your project is small, you may experience the shock of not receiving callbacks, or having your project declined.

If a contractor puts a crew onto your project, it means he or she is keeping them from working on another (potentially more lucrative) project. So, if you have something like a tiny bar installation in the basement or a small garden dig out in the front yard, they might not be too keen on vying for the job. In fact, we’ve even heard of contractors suggesting that a homeowner might want to DIY one particularly small project.

Under these circumstances, it might make more sense to try contacting them during a less busy time of year or to hire an experienced handyman.

They want your positive feedback

If you’ve ever spent much time reading online reviews, whether for contractors, vacation destinations, restaurants, or anything else, you’ve probably noticed that the complainers tend to outweigh the happy customers. Unfortunately, it simply boils down to the adage that a happy customer tells a few people, while a dissatisfied customer tells everyone (these days, that includes online).

For a lot of contractors, reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations are very important. So, if your contractor does a great job on your project, help them out by writing a positive review here on and then share it across your social network. Not only will you help your contractor, but you may also help a friend looking to have some work done on their own home as well.


Greyson Joralemon

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