Hiring a Contractor? Here’s What to Expect on the Job

If you’re about to start a home improvement project, you may have looked into enlisting the help of a contractor. Hopefully, you’ve read reviews, gotten estimates, asked for references, and ensured they were licensed and ensured.

So, what’s next? Doing your due diligence in hiring a contractor is important, but it isn’t the only thing to keep in mind as you progress through the project. Being mindful of what to expect will improve the chance that in the end, you are happy with the results.

Here’s what you need to know, whether you are adding on a new deck or doing an entire kitchen renovation:

1. You aren’t the only job they’ve got. As a homeowner, you’re laser-focused on the progress of your project, looking steadfastly ahead to the anticipated finished product. That’s why you could get frustrated when your contractor seems to be on the job one moment, then gone the next. But this is actually very typical. Most contractors have multiple projects going on at any one time, so they can be called away to another jobsite. At other times, they may be waiting on an order of materials or waiting on an inspection. Try not to get upset if you don’t see your contractor for a day or two. It’s still likely everything will come together, just as you’d hoped.

2. Guaranteed estimates are exact. There are a great many variables involved when it comes to a home improvement project. So, while it’s important to request and receive estimates, don’t be surprised if you’re hit with a lot of “rough” estimates for work you’ve requested. This rings true both for the cost of the project as well as an estimate of when you can expect to see workers onsite. Your best bet is to just take it in stride, while keeping an eye on your budget.

3. Contractors and designers are two different professionals. Other than HGTV, you’ll seldom see a contractor who is also a professional designer. Don’t expect them to provide design recommendations, whether it be paint color choices or lighting fixtures or flooring. If you’re concerned that your vision might not be accurately reflected in the end result, do yourself a favor and hire a designer at the start.

4. Expect your excitement to wane. There’s something especially exciting about your contractor showing up and starting to pull things apart and make things happen. How long that burst of excitement lasts into the project can vary. If you’re doing a renovation while still living in your home, you’ll likely dealing with a lot of inconveniences. These may seem slight at the start, but tend to seem like a greater and greater imposition. As the time drags on, you’re longing for the project to just be done so you can have your house back to yourself.

Hopefully your renovation project, as well as your dealings with your contractor, will go smoothly from start to finish. But keeping these four points in mind could help ensure your expectations are kept in check. At the least, you’ll know that your concerns and feelings of frustration from time to time are not at all unusual.

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